The Orchard and CNN Films have acquired the North American rights to the Sundance entry “Trophy,” directed by Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau. The Orchard is taking all North American rights except broadcast, which will be handled by CNN. A studio is in the process of negotiating international rights to the film.
The acquisition comes on the day of the premiere of the movie, which was produced by Lauren Haber and Julia Nottingham of Pulse Films and screens in Sundance’s U.S. Documentary Competition section.
“Trophy” is a “startling exploration of the evolving relationship between big-game hunting and wildlife conservation,” and will be released this year on at least 150 screens, according to The Orchard. The film looks at endangered African species like elephants, rhinos and lions, and investigates the industries of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation to ask the question: What are the implications of treating animals as commodities?
“With The Orchard’s theatrical distribution ingenuity and CNN’s diverse audience, we can’t think of a better combination of companies to reach audiences on all sides of a potentially polarizing issue,” Schwarz and Clusiau said in the statement.
“Trophy” was executive produced by Thomas Benski and Lucas Ochoa of Pulse Films, Lars Knudsen (“The Long Run”), Dan Cogan of Impact Partners, Sharon Chang of 19340 Productions, Lilly Hartley and Jeffrey Tarrant of Candescent Films, Maxyne Franklin of Bertha BRITDOC, Kate Townsend of BBC Storyville, Victoria Steventon of Influence Films and Tom Hardy and Dean Baker.
The deal was negotiated by The Orchard’s vice president of acquisitions Danielle DiGiacomo and by CNN Films’s vice president for business affairs Stacey Wolf and vice president for content development Courtney Sexton.
“’Trophy’ is a marvel of a film in that it takes an industry most think they know and reveals a personal, deeply complex and multi-faceted world that will have audiences questioning their original instincts,” said Paul Davidson, EVP of film and television at The Orchard, in the statement.
Submarine’s Josh Braun and Ben Braun negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers with UTA Independent Film Group. Schwarz and Clusiau are represented by UTA.