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Film Acquisition Rundown: Samuel Goldwyn Films Picks Up ‘Youth in Oregon,’ The Orchard Buys ‘Monkey Business’ 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.

“Youth in Oregon”

Samuel Goldwyn Films

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.

-Orion Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films have acquireed “Youth in Oregon,” directed by Joel David Moore and written by Andrew Eisen. The film stars Frank Langella, Billy Crudup, Christina Applegate, Mary Kay Place, Josh Lucas, Nicola Peltz and Alex Shaffer. “Youth in Oregon” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and will screen at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January.  The movie will be released theatrically and on demand in the U.S. on February 3, 2017.

Per the film’s official synopsis: “When 79-year-old curmudgeon Raymond (Langella) makes arrangements to be euthanized in Oregon, his family refuses to accept his decision.  But when another family emergency arises, Raymond’s daughter Kate (Applegate) turns to her husband Brian (Crudup) for a little help.  Brian reluctantly volunteers to drive the cantankerous Raymond and his wine-loving wife Estelle (Place) three-thousand miles to Oregon.  Determined to change the old man’s mind before they reach the Beaver State, it quickly becomes apparent to Brian that convincing your father-in-law to keep living when he’s ready to check out is no simple task.”

“Joel David Moore takes on a complicated subject matter with a stellar cast that truly delivers on all levels,” Peter Goldwyn, President of Samuel Goldwyn Films, said in a statement. The film was produced by Stefan Nowicki, Joey Carey, and Morgan White of Sundial Pictures; co-produced by Sirad Balducci and Barbara Fiorentino; and executive produced by Frank Langella and Ross Dinerstein.

-The Orchard has closed a deal for worldwide distribution rights to the documentary “Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators,” directed by Ema Ryan Yamazaki and narrated by Academy Award-nominated actor Sam Waterston. The film, currently in post-production, will be released in 2017.

“Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators”


Per the film’s official synopsis: “‘Monkey Business’ chronicles the largely unknown and extraordinary story of George’s creators, Hans and Margret Rey. From fleeing Nazi-occupied France on handmade bicycles to encounters with exotic animals in Brazil, the Reys lived lives of adventure that are reflected in the pages of one of the most treasured children’s book series of all time. Having arrived in America as immigrants and then ultimately attaining the American dream, the film honors the legacy of the Reys by interweaving archival footage and interviews with them, their friends and experts, along with animated sequences in a style inspired by the world of Curious George.”

“Curious George is a universally beloved children’s icon who is familiar to millions, yet it’s the story behind his creators that is even more amazing,” Paul Davidson, The Orchard’s EVP, film and television, said in a statement. “We are proud to partner with Ema to bring the inspiring story of Hans and Margret Rey to those same audiences around the world in 2017.” The stories of Curious George have endured for 75 years, selling more than 75 million copies sold in over 20 languages.

-Abramorama has acquired the North American theatrical rights to “Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance” slated for a February 1, 2017 theatrical release. The film will premiere in New York at the Elinor Bunin Theaters at Lincoln Center and Film Forum. Directed by Tomer Heymann (“Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?,” “I Shot My Love”), “Mr. Gaga” is a unique documentary experience that tells the story of the internationally acclaimed choreographer Ohad Naharin, who created the daring form of dance and “movement language” known as Gaga.

“’Mr. Gaga’ is both an exuberant vision of dance and movement and the deeply moving study of a true artist and innovator,” Abramorama president Richard Abramowitz said in a statement. “The Heymann Brothers have surpassed themselves with this extraordinary cinema experience.” Nominated for 10 awards including a European Film Award, “Mr. Gaga” is being released theatrically in 15 countries and has screened at 100 different festivals.

Per the film’s official synopsis: “When he was 22, Ohad Naharin was invited to perform with the prestigious Martha Graham dance company while simultaneously attending Juilliard and the School of American Ballet. But Ohad would not be happy until he could do exactly what he wanted. Moving back to Israel, he became the Artistic Director of the Batsheva Dance Company, developing Gaga within his own ensemble. Even after achieving worldwide acclaim, Naharin continues to fight every day, sometimes with his own dancers – once even with the president of Israel – to make his vision come to life.Catching him at a critical turning point in his personal life, this spirited and insightful documentary will introduce you to a man with great artistic integrity and an extraordinary vision. Mr. Gaga tells Naharin’s personal story of a controversial, political, and always entertaining figure, and his constant battle for artistic perfection.”

-In other distribution-related news, the curated streaming platform Mubi is now available on Roku streaming players and Roku TV models in the U.S. The expansion to the Roku platform provides current Mubi subscribers with another viewing option. The channel launch coincided with the December program that includes the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” and a Jackie Chan double bill featuring “Project A” and “Project A2,” titles from Mubi’s distribution deal with Miramax Films.

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