The U.S. distribution rights to Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor's Berlin Film Festival premiere "Sweetgrass" have been acquired by The Cinema Guild. The deal was negotiated by Ryan Krivoshey, Director of Distribution for The Cinema Guild with Sandy Forman on behalf of the filmmakers. "Sweetgrass" will open at Film Forum on January 6, 2010, followed by a national release.
"We chose to work with Cinema Guild because they are a company that has been dedicated to independent, non-fiction, and world cinema for three straight decades, and are committed to bringing out important, and at times difficult work they really believe in, without thinking only of the bottom line, " said directors Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor in a statement. "In a market where documentaries are often conceived as commodities like any other, Cinema Guild's concern to make works of enduring value and originality available to the public seems deeply commendable, and we're delighted to be signing with them."
"Sweetgrass" follows a group of modern-day cowboys as they lead their enormous flock of sheep up into Montana's breathtaking and often-dangerous Beartooth mountains for summer pasture. This film reveals a world in which nature and culture, animals and humans, climate and landscape, and vulnerability and violence are all intimately meshed.
"'Sweetgrass' is unlike any other film we've seen," said The Cinema Guild's Ryan Krivoshey in a statement, "it's a wondrous, immersive experience that transports the viewer to another place and time. We look forward to working with Lucien and Ilisa and can't wait for audiences around the country to discover their amazing film."
The film recently screened as part of the 2009 New York Film Festival.