Although The Orchard only made one big deal at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival — for Taika Waititi's crowd-pleasing "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" — the company is now proving that patience pays off, as they follow yesterday's acquisition of the Sundance-winning doc "Life, Animated" with news that they have landed all North American distribution rights to Antonio Campos' "Christine."
The drama premiered in competition at Sundance, where lead Rebecca Hall earned the best reviews of her career for her performance as Christine Chubbuck. The deal comes with a commitment by The Orchard for an awards campaign for Hall this fall.
The official synopsis reads: "Based on true events, 'Christine' is about an ambitious 29-year-old news reporter (Hall), in Sarasota, Florida, circa 1974. Relentlessly motivated to succeed, she knows she has talent, but being a driven career woman in the 1970s comes with its own challenges, especially when competition for a promotion, unrequited love for a coworker (Michael C. Hall) and a tumultuous home life lead to a dissolution of self. With ratings in the cellar, the station manager issues a mandate to deliver juicier and more exploitative stories, a story firmly at odds with Christine’s serious brand of issue-based journalism. To accomplish her goals, she must overcome her self-doubt and give the people what they want."
The film is based on the real life of Chubbuck, who notoriously committed suicide live on air. "Christine" was one of two films about the subject to play at Sundance last week, but the other, a documentary hybrid entitled "Kate Plays Christine" has yet to be picked up.
"'Christine' is one of the most enthralling and compelling films we saw at Sundance and Rebecca Hall’s performance is simply mesmerizing," said Paul Davidson, The Orchard’s SVP, Film and Television, in an official statement. "There are so few films that truly stick with you the way this one does. Antonio’s vision is exceptionally unique and he is precisely the kind of filmmaker we are committed to working with at The Orchard."
Added Campos, "We're so happy that 'Christine' has found a home with The Orchard. Their passion and enthusiasm has truly excited us, and we can’t think of a better partner."
The dark drama was produced by Campos' filmmaking collective Borderline Films, which has been responsible for "Martha Marcy May Marlene," "James White" and Campos' own "Simon Killer" in the past. The Orchard negotiated the deal with UTA Independent Film Group and WME. The company will open the film theatrically later this year.