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A24 Buys Paul Mescal Cannes Drama ‘Aftersun’ for U.S., Canada (Exclusive)

Cannes: Charlotte Wells' well-liked Critics' Week entry stars Mescal as a father on holiday with his daughter, played by Francesca Corio.



Cannes Film Festival

A24 is staying in the Paul Mescal business.

The studio that also shepherded the “Normal People” actor’s Directors’ Fortnight entry “God’s Creatures” has acquired North American rights for Charlotte Wells’ well-liked Critics’ Week entry “Aftersun,” IndieWire has learned. A source close to the film’s production confirmed that the studio bought rights to release the drama in the U.S. and Canada in a deal in Cannes on Monday. The buy is said to be in the mid-seven-figure range. (The news was later confirmed by A24.)

“Aftersun,” a standout from the Critics’ Week sidebar that annually promotes first- and second-time directors, stars Mescal as a father on a melancholy holiday with his 11-year-old daughter Sophie, played by Francesca Corio, in Turkey in the late 1990s. Sophie, in the present day, is reflecting on the holiday they shared two decades prior. Memories real and imaginary collide, filling the gaps between mini-DV footage as Sophie tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t. The film stars filmmaker, actress, and choreographer Celia Rowlson-Hall (“Ma”) as the adult version of Sophie.

Mescal’s performances in both “Aftersun” and fishing-village drama “God’s Creatures” have been widely praised by Cannes press. No release date has been set for either.

Charades is handling international sales for “Aftersun.” The film is produced by “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins’ production company Pastel, which he co-founded with Adele Romanski and Mark Ceryak. The film was financed by BBC Film, BFI, and Creative Scotland, in association with Tango Entertainment. Executive producers are Eva Yates for BBC Film, which also helped develop the film, Lizzie Francke for BFI, Kieran Hannigan for Creative Scotland, and Tim Headington and Lia Buman on behalf of Tango.

“Aftersun” is the feature debut of Scottish writer/director Wells, who is currently based in New York. She previously wrote and directed three short films while pursuing her master’s at New York University.

A24 has a strong Cannes showing this year, with Kelly Reichardt’s “Showing Up” and Claire Denis’ “The Stars at Noon” in competition, as well as Alex Garland’s “Men,” Jesse Eisenberg’s Sundance feature “When You Finish Saving the World,” and Owen Kline’s “Funny Pages” at the festival.

A24 is coming off a strong year stateside thanks to the surging box office performance for word-of-mouth hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” It has so far grossed more than $58 million worldwide since releasing two months ago on March 25. It’s on track to become A24’s highest-grossing movie ever at the U.S. box office.

Look for IndieWire’s review of “Aftersun” soon.

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