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Joe Swanberg’s ‘Digging for Fire’ Goes to The Orchard

Joe Swanberg's 'Digging for Fire' Goes to The Orchard

In its second Sundance deal, newbie The Orchard is buying North American rights for about $2 million to Sundance Premiere title “Digging for Fire.” (Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has international rights.) Co-written by Swanberg and his “Drinking Buddies” star Jake Johnson (“New Girl”), the 35 mm portrait of married Angelenos stars Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt tracks the anxious couple after they come across a bone and a gun. 

Produced by Swanberg, Alicia Van Couvering (Lena Dunham’s “Tiny Furniture,” Sundance 2015 title “Cop Car”) and Johnson,  the film is about how marriage should be “two individuals agreeing to be in a relationship, rather than two people melting into one thing,” said Swanberg at the Sundance Q&A.

According to Johnson, actors love working with Swanberg because he allows them to participate in the writing of the film. The gifted ensemble also includes: Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson, Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick, Mike Birbiglia, Sam Elliot, Judith Light, Ron Livingston, Melanie Lynskey, Jenny Slate, Tim Simons, and Jane Adams.  

Read The Playlist’s review here.

This is Swanberg’s second film in a row to debut (“Happy Christmas”) at Sundance–after he debuted such earlier efforts as “Hannah Takes the Stairs,” starring Greta Gerwig and Mark Duplass, at SXSW. 

Swanberg said he came to the festival seeking a company that “loved my film the most, and would do the smartest and most aggressive job releasing it.”  

“We think audiences will flock to ‘Digging for Fire’ for its engaging and comedic look at adult relationships,” said The Orchard’s SVP of Film & TV, Paul Davidson. 

Founded in 1997, The Orchard is a music, video and multi-channel network that operates in more than 25 global markets–and recently entered film distribution, picking up North American rights to the Duplass brothers-produced Patrick Brice raunchy comedy “The Overnight” at Sundance for some $4 million, which many observers considered to be an inflated, stake-your-claim-in-the-business price. They had to beat out competitors Netflix, A24, Bleecker Street and Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate to obtain the movie. 

The Orchard aims to reach across “hundreds of digital, physical and mobile outlets around the world,” providing content owners with “an intuitive dashboard, comprehensive rights management and tailored client support.”  


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