Writer-director Maggie Greenwald’s “Sophie and the Rising Sun” will be represented by Entertainment One’s Seville International. The sales agent acquired the exclusive rights to all regions sans North America. (According to Indiewire the film will be presented to potential buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin. It seems likely that the North American rights will be scooped up there.)
The romance stars Julianne Nicholson (“Masters of Sex”) as Sophie, a woman living in a small Southern town in 1941. Sophie’s life is turned upside down when she strikes up a love affair with Grover (Takashi Yamaguchi), a new man in town. Grover is Asian, and his and Sophie’s interracial romance proves too much for the conservative townspeople to bear. Bigotry and violence erupt.
The film, based on a novel of the same name, premiered at Sundance last month, where Greenwald told Women and Hollywood that she’d like audiences leaving the theater to “think about how unfortunately relevant this story is.” She explained, “Despite the intense racism that still pervades our society, we’ve become more accepting of interracial relationships” but “as a society we are still afraid of outsiders or people we believe are different. Our government did horrible things to Japanese-Americans seventy years ago, yet the same conversation is going on today about Muslim-Americans.”
Greenwald’s previous directing credits include “The Last Keepers” and “Songcatcher.”
“This is a story that will transcend international borders and especially appeal to the underserved mature female audience,” said Anick Poirier, Senior Vice President, Sales, Seville International. “We are so thrilled to share it with the world.”
Greenwald is in the midst of developing her first television series, “Called to Gilead,” with Relatively Television.