U.S. distribution rights to "Five Minutes of Heaven" by Austrian director Oliver Hirschbiegel ("Downfall") starring Liam Neeson have been picked up by IFC Films. The film, which had its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, picking up the World Cinema Screenwriting Award for Guy Hibbert and the World Cinema Director Award for Hirschbiegel, will be released this August simultaneously in theaters and VOD. IFC Films' Arianna Bocco negotiated the deal with Pathe International and UTA.
Additionally, the film will also go through IFC Entertainment's exclusive deal with Blockbuster, which gives IFC Films to the video chains' audience via its stores, mail subscription services and digital downloading services at on its website.
"Five Minutes from Heaven" is a drama that explores aspects of Northern Ireland's "Troubles" by looking at the past and the challenges the future holds in coming to terms with it. The film traces the lives of two men one a murderer, the other the brother of the man he killed. Described by IFC as a "compelling and refreshingly humane film," "Five Minutes of Heaven" moves from a re-enactment of the tragic real-life events to a fictional interpretation of what might happen should these two men ever come face-to-face.
"'Five Minutes of Heaven' is an extremely smart and deeply moving drama which has stayed with me since seeing it in January at Sundance," commented IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring in a statement. "Oliver Hirschbiegel is at the top of his craft and he's matched by terrific performances by Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt. It's an incredibly suspenseful, tautly directed film and we are very excited by its prospects for all of our platforms."
The film is a Pathe, BBC and Northern Ireland Screen presentation, with the participation of the Scannan Na Heireann/Irish Film Board, of a Big Fish Films/Ruby Films production, in association with Element Pictures.