North American rights to “Wildlife,” Paul Dano’s first film as a writer-director, have been scooped up by IFC Films. Dano and fiancée Zoe Kazan adapted the film from the novel of the same name by Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Ford. Set in Great Falls, Montana during 1960, the film premiered as part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20. A Fall 2018 release is planned.
“For as long as I have wanted to make films, I have known I would make films about family,” said Dano in a statement. “To have brought together a creative family in the making of ‘Wildlife’ has been one of the great joys of my life. And now to extend that family further and collaborate with IFC, whose voice as a distributor has been vital to so many filmmakers I love all over the world, is an honor.”
Kazan also shared her excitement on Twitter:
— zoe kazan (@zoeinthecities) February 12, 2018
In “Wildlife,” a 14-year-old (Ed Oxenbould) is forced to assume the role of family patriarch when his newly unemployed father (Jake Gyllenhaal) takes off to fight a forest fire near the Canadian border. Carey Mulligan plays the boy’s overwrought mother. In his A- review, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich praised the film as “a tender, gorgeous, and exquisitely understated drama about a family that loses its faith in itself.”
Producers include Gyllenhaal and his Nine Stories partner Riva Marker, Alex Saks of June Pictures (“The Florida Project”), and Oren Moverman of Sight Unseen Pictures. Moverman also wrote “Puzzle” — a film Sony Pictures Classics picked up at the festival for a reported $5 million — and produced “The Tale,” Jennifer Fox’s lauded, semi-autobiographical account of her childhood sexual abuse, which went to HBO Films. Among the executive producers are Dano, Kazan, Ted Deiker (“Hung”), and Eddie Vaisman (“In A World…”).
The co-presidents of IFC Films, Jonathan Sehring and Lisa Schwartz, called Dano’s debut “deft,” “self assured,” and “nothing short of remarkable,” predicting that “Wildlife” will “leave an indelible effect on audiences.” Thirteen years ago, the distributor first collaborated with Golden Globe-nominated Dano (“Love & Mercy”), releasing “The Ballad of Jack and Rose.”