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Film Acquisition Rundown: Miramax Picks Up ‘I, Tonya,’ Open Road Nabs ‘The Promise’ and More

Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of everything that’s been picked up around the globe.

The Promise Oscar Isaac

“The Promise”

Courtesy of TIFF

Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of everything that’s been picked up around the globe. Check out last week’s Rundown here.

– Miramax have acquired U.S. distribution rights to “I, Tonya” by Steven Rogers, the incredible true life story of controversial figure skater Tonya Harding with Margot Robbie starring as Harding and Craig Gillespie directing.

The edgy comedy will be produced by Bryan Unkeless for Clubhouse Pictures, Margot Robbie and Tom Ackerley for LuckyChap Entertainment and Steven Rogers, who also wrote the screenplay. Len Blavatnik and Aviv Giladi will executive produce for AI Film, which is financing the project. Rosanne Korenberg will oversee the project for Miramax.

The film will reportedly “peel back the layers of Tonya Harding’s sensationalized involvement in the 1994 attack on rival figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, exposing the absurd, tragic and hilarious story-behind-the-story of one of the most infamous scandals in the history of Olympic Games figure skating.”

– Open Road Films has acquired all U.S. rights to “The Promise” starring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon and Academy Award-winner Christian Bale, directed by Academy Award-winner Terry George (Hotel Rwanda). Open Road Films plans for an April 28, 2017 wide release for the film.

Produced by Eric Esrailian, Mike Medavoy,  and William Horberg, the film had its world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.

Per the film’s official synopsis: “It is 1914. As the Great War looms, the vast Ottoman Empire is crumbling. Constantinople, the once vibrant, multicultural capital on the shores of the Bosphorus, is about to be consumed by chaos. Michael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac), arrives in the cosmopolitan hub as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine back to Siroun, his ancestral village in Southern Turkey where Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians have lived side by side for centuries.

Photo-journalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale), has come here only partly to cover geo-politics. He is mesmerized by his love for Ana (Charlotte le Bon), an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father. When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men. As the Turks form an alliance with Germany and the Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities, their conflicting passions must be deferred while they join forces to survive even as events threaten to overwhelm them.”

“Keep Quiet”

– Kino Lorber has announced the acquisition of all rights to “Keep Quiet,” the acclaimed documentary by Joseph Martin and Sam Blair focused on Hungarian politician Csanad Szegedi, a man who helped found the far-right, anti-Semitic nationalist party Jobbik, only to subsequently discover his own Jewish heritage. The will open the film on February 10, 2017 at New York’s Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, followed by a Los Angeles commercial run starting March 3, 2017, at select Laemmle Theaters. A national expansion will follow together with key Jewish Film Festival screenings throughout the country.

Per the film’s official synopsis: “Csanad Szegedi’s story is astonishing. As vice-president of Jobbik, Hungary’s far-right extremist party, Szegedi fervently espoused anti-Semitic rhetoric and was a vocal supporter of the Holocaust denial movement. Then came a revelation: after lengthy and soul-searching conversations with his mother and grandmother, Szegedi learned of their (and his own) Jewish identity. Suddenly, the very religion he had despised for over three decades had become an undeniable part of his life.

Unsure of how to navigate his new identity, Szegedi approached Rabbi Baruch Oberlander, the leader of the Orthodox Jewish community in Budapest. Together, the two most unlikely of allies embarked upon a journey to confront Szegedi’s dark past and reflect on his new future.”

– Virgil Films will distribute “An Act of Love,” the latest film from director Scott Sheppard, which “charts how an act of love affects an entire community.” The ocumentary will now be available to VOD/Digital and DVD audiences in the United States and Canada beginning on January 10, 2017.

Billed as a “richly uplifting documentary,” the film “reveals the depth of a father’s love and the journey that one simple and yet profound act has on everyone, especially Frank Schaefer. Being a pastor in Pennsylvania was Frank’s calling, his fulfillment of his life’s work. But officiating his son’s same-sex wedding resulted in Frank being put on trial in the United Methodist Church. The entire family was thrust into the fight for equality for the LGBTQ community and Sheppard and team capture it eloquently on film.”

– Orion Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films have secured the U.S. rights to filmmaker Avi Nesher’s “Past Life.” The dramatic thriller in its second week of release in Israel is on its way to breaking local box office records. The film was recently announced to screen at the 2017 Palm Springs Film Festival and had its world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.

Per its official synopsis: “Inspired by incredible true events, the film is set in 1977 as two Israeli sisters delve into the dark mystery of their father’s storyof surviving World War II and discover that it may be more complicated than they originally believed. As cryptic details continue to emerge, the revelations that come to light threaten to tear their family apart.”

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