IFC and Focus Joins Forces to Acquire Bier's "Brothers"
by Eugene Hernandez
IFC Films and Focus Features announced Friday that the two companies will jointly release Susanne Bier's "Brothers." The film, fresh from screening at the Toronto and San Sebastian International Film Festivals, has been a box-office hit in Denmark. IFC will handle the film's theatrical launch and TV sales, while Focus is on board for the home entertainment release through Universal Studios Home Video.
"Brothers" was especially popular at the recent San Sebastian International Film Festival where stars Connie Nielsen and Ulrich Thomsen were awarded the best actress and best actor awards respectively. Anders Thomas Jensen wrote the drama, about a relationship between two brothers, from a story by he and Bier. Sisse Graum Jørgensen and Peter Aalbæk Jensen produced the film. Peter Garde executive-produced the movie. Bier is best known in this country for her 2002 film, "Open Hearts." Focus is currently developing "Chasing Montana," from a screenplay by David E. Kelley, to be directed by Bier and starring Michelle Pfeiffer.
"Focus Features is a vital force in the independent market and IFC has always held the highest regard for both their business and artistic sensibilities," said IFC's Jonathan Sehring in a statement. "The reality of the marketplace is that foreign-language films face challenges. Focus and IFC share a passion for these films, and are joining forces on 'Brothers' to bring this film to the widest audience possible. With our combined strengths, we can more likely ensure financial success. We look forward to working closely with everyone at Focus on Susanne's truly remarkable film."
David Linde and James Schamus from Focus added, in a statement, "This acquisition is the first one for which Focus has pooled its resources with those of IFC Films. It all came about because of our shared admiration of what Susanne has achieved with 'Brothers.' We've already established an excellent relationship with her on 'Chasing Montana,' which is coming together so strongly. On Brothers, our two organizations will bring complementary strengths to bear, with output deals that will lower the risk and up the gross potential. By working together on behalf of this movie, we're all affirming our support of independent and foreign-language fare and cultivating and expanding the audience for it."