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Film Acquisition Rundown: Focus Buys Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘Loro,’ The Orchard Picks Up ‘Thumper’ and More

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



The Orchard

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.

The Orchard has acquired the North American rights to Jordan Ross’s directorial debut “Thumper,” starring “Orange is the New Black’s” Pablo Schreiber. The gritty crime thriller debuted at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and was written and directed by Ross. The movie also stars Eliza Taylor, Lena Headey, Ben Feldman, Grant Harvey and Daniel Webber. Set in a town of low-income and fractured families, “Thumper” is centered around a group of teens that are lured into working for a dangerous drug dealer. A new girl arrives into town hiding a dangerous secret that will impact everybody and change their lives forever.

READ MORE: Film Acquisition Rundown: Mubi Buys Philippe Garrel’s ‘Lover for a Day,’ FilmRise Picks Up ‘Women Who Kill’ and More

“’Thumper’ is a movie so real, so authentic in its direction and performances, we were floored this was Jordan’s directorial debut,” Paul Davidson, The Orchard’s EVP of film and television, said in a statement. Executive produced by Cary Fukunaga and Automatik Entertainment’s Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Rian Cahill, the film will hit theaters later this year.

Focus Features has acquired the Italian rights to “Loro,” Paolo Sorrentino’s upcoming film about the life of Silvio Berlusconi, Deadline reports. The film stars “The Great Beauty’s” Toni Servillo as Berlusconi and will begin shooting this summer. Indigo Film will produce, with Pathé co-producing. Sorrentino co-wrote the script with Umberto Contarello, focusing on Berlusconi’s rise to the top of Italian business and politics.

“Given Focus’ commitment to collaborating with global filmmakers in their home countries, we’re proud to be partnered with Paolo on this unique new event project,” Focus president Robert Walak said in a statement. “His works combine humor and compassion like no one else’s. Loro is his distinctive vision of how one of the world’s most fascinating men redefined power for our media age.”

– Sundance Selects has acquired the U.S. rights to Jeff Unay’s documentary and feature-length directorial debut “The Cage Fighter.” The film premiered at the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival and was written, directed and photographed by Unay. “The Cage Fighter” is the story of a man in the fight of his life. Joe Carman is a blue-collar Washington State boilermaker and master plumber, a loving father and husband. Unable to cope with stresses at home, reeling from his wife’s recent illness and an ongoing custody battle, Joe escapes back into the fighting cage — the one place he’d promised never to set foot again.

The Cage Fighter

“The Cage Fighter”

IFC Films

“Jeff Unay’s impressive and beautiful debut unfolds like a narrative film in which the story of Joe Carman and his journey is portrayed with empathy and universal accessibility,” Arianna Bocco, EVP of acquisitions and productions at IFC Films/Sundance Selects, said in a statement. “We can’t wait to share his story with audiences across the country.”

– Music Box Films has acquired “Vazante,” the first solo feature of director Daniela Thomas, whose co-directing credits include “Linha de Passe,” “Midnight” and “Foreign Land,” all with Walter Salles. “Vazante” world premiered at the 2017 Berlinale. Set in Brazil in 1821, the film centers on Antonio, a slave trader, who finds out that his wife died in labor. Forced to live in the property with numerous African slaves, he marries his wife’s niece. A restless soul, he returns to his trading expeditions, leaving his young wife behind alone with the slaves.

“We are pleased to be working with Daniela Thomas to bring her eloquent depiction of the often untold history of early 19th century Brazilian mining life to American audiences,” Music Box President William Schopf said in a statement. “Vazante” is produced by Sara Silveira at Dezenove Som e Imagem and Beto Amaral at Cisma Produções, in co-production with Ukbar Filmes in Portugal.

– Netflix has acquired select international rights to the Safdie brothers’s “Good Time,” THR reports. The thriller premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. “Good Time” follows a bank robber, played by Robert Pattinson, who finds himself unable to evade those who are looking for him. Territories in which Netflix will stream the film include the U.K., Ireland, Spain, Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, among others. A24 will release the film in theaters in North America.

– Shudder has acquired the North American and U.K./Ireland rights to Flying Lotus’ psych-out nightmare “Kuso.” The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and will be available on the premium thriller, suspense and horror video streaming service. It will also play theatrically in New York and Los Angeles starting on July 21.




“Kuso” marks the feature directorial debut from Steve, the filmmaking alter-ego of Steve Ellison, better known as music producer, DJ and rapper Flying Lotus. Broadcasting through a makeshift network of discarded televisions, “Kuso” depicts the aftermath of Los Angeles’s worst earthquake nightmare. Viewers travel between screens and aftershocks into the twisted lives of the survived, experiencing a hallucination that is Cronenberg meets “Ren & Stimpy.”

– MPI Media Group has acquired the U.S. rights to ‘M.F.A.,” the thriller starring Francesca Eastwood. Directed by Natalia Leite from a debut screenplay by actress Leah McKendrick, the film takes on the searing current issue of sexual violence on campus. “M.F.A.” stars Eastwood as an art student who is sexually assaulted by a fellow classmate and impulsively confronts her attacker. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at the 2017 SXSW festival.

“’M.F.A.’ is a bold new film in which Francesca Eastwood gives an absolute break-out performance,” Greg Newman, executive vice president of Dark Sky Films, said in a statement. “We’re happy to continue our support of the growing body of work by visionary female filmmakers by bringing ‘M.F.A.’ to US audiences.” “M.F.A.” will be released domestically this fall under the company’s Dark Sky Films banner.

– Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired the North American rights to Erlingur Thoroddsen’s Icelandic LGBT/horror feature “Rift.” Written and directed by Erlingur Thoroddsen, the film follows Gunnar, who receives a strange phone call from his ex-boyfriend, Einar, months after they broke up. Einar sounds distraught, like he’s about to do something terrible to himself, so Gunnar drives up to the secluded cabin where Einar is holed up and soon discovers that there’s more going on than he imagined. As the two men come to terms with their broken relationship, some other person seems to be lurking outside the cabin, wanting to get in.

Set in the bleak landscape of rural Iceland in the fall, and with an LGBT couple at its core, this Hitchcockian thriller stars Björn Stefánsson, Sigurður Þór Óskarsson, Guðmundur Ólafsson. “Rift” held its world premiere as the closing film at the Goteburg Film Festival in Sweden, and will hold its North American premiere at OutFest in July. The film will have a full festival run through the holiday season, culminating with a limited theatrical followed quickly by a VOD/DVD release.

READ MORE: Film Acquisition Rundown: Focus Buys ‘The Little Stranger,’ Oscilloscope Picks Up ‘Brimstone & Glory’ and More

– The Society for Arts will release “Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge,” in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago on Friday, June 30th. The French-language film from Marie Noelle was co-written by Marie Noelle and Andrea Stoll. “Marie Curie” stars Karolina Gruszka as Marie Curie, Charles Berling as Pierre Curie and Arieh Worthalter as Paul Langevin.

Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge

“Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge”

The Society for Arts

Set in the early 1900s, the film focuses on the most turbulent five years in the life of genius Marie Curie, who received two Nobel Prizes, one with her husband Pierre Curie for the discovery of radioactivity. After Pierre Curie is run over by a horse-drawn carriage and tragically dies in Paris, Marie is left alone with two young daughters. Despite her sorrow, she continues the work that she began with Pierre, taking especially the “Curie-therapy” they developed against cancer to great heights.

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