Film Acquisition Rundown: IFC Films Picks up ‘Sweet Virginia,’ Oscilloscope Buys ‘Song of Granite’ 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.
IFC Films Picks up Sweet Virginia, Oscilloscope Buys Song of Granite
"Sweet Virginia"
Jason Kasperski

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.

– IFC Films has acquired the U.S rights to director Jamie M. Dagg’s thriller “Sweet Virginia,” starring Jon Bernthal, Christopher Abbott, Imogen Poots, Rosemarie DeWitt and Odessa Young. The film, which premiered at the recent Tribeca Film Festival, was written by Ben and Paul China from their Black List script, and was produced by Brian Kavanaugh-Jones for Automatik, Chris Ferguson for Oddfellows and Fernando Loureiro and Roberto Vasconcellos for Exhibit, who also financed.

READ MORE: Film Acquisition Rundown: Focus Features Picks Up ‘Tully,’ Electric Entertainment Buys ‘LBJ’ and More

XYZ Films is currently handling international sales and will screen the film at the upcoming Marché du Film at Cannes. “Sweet Virginia” is a riveting thriller that follows a motel owner with a dark past (Bernthal) who unknowingly starts a rapport with a young hitman (Abbott) responsible for a spate of violence that has suddenly gripped a small town.

– Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired the U.S. rights to “Song of Granite,” Pat Collins’s film about traditional Irish singer Joe Heaney. Co-written by Collins, Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde, and Sharon Whooley, the film had its world premiere at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. Oscilloscope will open the film theatrically later this year.

Enigmatic and complex, Joe Heaney was one of the greats of traditional Irish singing. Shaped by the myths, fables, and songs of his upbringing in the west of Ireland, his emergence as a gifted artist came at a personal cost. Featuring performances from Colm Seoighe, Macdara Ó’Fátharta, Jaren Cerf, Lisa O’Neill, and Damien Dempsey, with beautiful black and white cinematography, “Song of Granite” is a distinct portrait of Heaney’s life and a marvelous exploration of music and song.

– Samuel Goldwyn Films and Orion Pictures have acquired the U.S. rights to Francis Lee’s award-winning “God’s Own Country,” starring breakout actors Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu. Lee’s feature debut, the film received its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Directing in the World Cinema Competition. The studios are planning an early fall theatrical release.

“Gods Own Country”Samuel Goldwyn Films

Lee’s contemporary tale of self-discovery and emotional-awakening is set on the sheep farming hills of rural England. Johnny Saxby (O’Connor) works long hours in brutal isolation on his family’s remote farm in the north of England. He numbs the daily frustration of his lonely existence with nightly binge-drinking at the local pub and casual sex. When a handsome Romanian migrant worker (Secareanu) arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself having to deal with emotions he has never felt before.

– Samuel Goldwyn Films announced today that the company has acquired North American rights to Erik Poppe’s “The King’s Choice.” The film is based on the true the story about three dramatic days in April 1940, where the King of Norway is presented with an unimaginable ultimatum from the German armed forces: surrender or die.

“The King’s Choice” stars Jesper Christensen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Karl Markovics, Tuva Novotny, Arthur Hakalahti, and Katharina Schüttler. The film is slated for a theatrical release in August 2017.

– Focus Features has acquired the rights to “Reflective Light,” the debut film from art photographer Gregory Crewdson, Deadline reports. Marc Platt and Jared LeBoff of Platt Productions will produce. The film is adapted from the 2014 Carla Buckley novel “The Deepest Secret,” which Crewdson and partner Juliane Hiam have adapted. The film is expected to begin casting soon.

– Bleecker Street has acquired the North American rights to first time writer-director Elizabeth Chomko’s family drama, “What They Had,” starring Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Blythe Danner, Robert Forster and Taissa Farmiga. The film was produced by Keith Kjarval, Bill Holderman, Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Alex Saks and Andrew Duncan.

“What They Had” centers on a family in crisis. Bridget (Swank) returns home to Chicago at her brother’s (Shannon) urging to deal with her mother’s (Danner) Alzheimer’s and her father’s (Forster) reluctance to let go of their life together. Production recently wrapped in Chicago and Los Angeles. The film will be released in 2018.

– Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, has acquired the North American rights to “Blade of the Immortal,” the highly-anticipated new title from legendary Japanese director Takashi Miike, marking his 100th film. The movie will have its international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival as in Official Selection next week.

Takuya Kimura, one of Japan’s biggest stars, plays the lead alongside newcomer Hana Sugisaki. Sôta Fukushi and Ebizô Ichikawa round out the cast with veterans Min Tanaka and Tsutomu Yamazaki. “Blade of the Immortal” marks the second collaboration between Miike and Magnet, following 2011’s wildly successful samurai masterpiece “13 Assassins.”

– Abramorama has acquired the North American theatrical rights to Academy Award-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s “Food Evolution,” narrated by esteemed science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson. The film will have its U.S. theatrical premiere on June 23 at the Village East Cinemas in New York, followed by a nationwide release to select cities.

“Food Evolution”Abramorama

Amidst a brutally polarized debate marked by passion, suspicion and confusion, “Food Evolution” explores the controversy surrounding GMOs and food. Traveling from Hawaiian papaya groves to banana farms in Uganda to the cornfields of Iowa, “Food Evolution” wrestles with the emotions and the science driving one of the most heated arguments of our time.

– Grasshopper Film has acquired the U.S. rights to “Araby,” the critically-acclaimed feature from directors Affonso Uchôa and João Dumans. “Araby” premiered at the 2017 Rotterdam Film Festival and was an official selection of New Directors / New Films. The film marks the second collaboration between Affonso Uchôa and João Dumans, though their first as co-directors. The acclaimed 2014 film “Hidden Tiger” was directed by Uchoa and co-written by Dumans.

Andre, a teenager, lives in an industrial town in Brazil near an old aluminum factory. One day, factory worker Cristiano suffers an accident. Asked to go to Cristiano’s house to pick up clothes and documents, Andre stumbles on a notebook. It’s here that “Araby” begins, or rather, transforms. As Andre reads from the journal entries, we are plunged into Cristiano’s life, into stories of his wanderings, adventures and loves. An official selection of this year’s New Directors / New Films, “Araby” will open theatrically this fall, followed by a VOD and home video release.

-Well Go USA Entertainment has acquired the North American rights to Chris Peckover’s “Better Watch Out,” a horrifying holiday home invasion tale with a twist. Formerly known as “Safe Neighborhood,” the film stars Olivia DeJonge as a babysitter who, one snowy night on a quiet suburban street, must defend her twelve-year-old charge (Levi Miller) from intruders… but quickly learns that this is one extraordinary home invasion that demands an equally extraordinary response.

Co-starring Virginia Madsen, Patrick Warburton, Ed Oxenbould, Aleks Mikic and Dacre Montgomery, “Better Watch Out” will surprise and delight anyone who not only loves a good holiday movie, but also wishes “Home Alone” had a lot more blood in it. “Better Watch Out” will receive a theatrical and digital release on October 6, 2017, with a home video release to follow in time for the holiday season.

Altered Innocence has acquired the rights to three films:

“Baby Bump,” directed by Kuba Czekaj and winner of a Special Queer Lion prize in Venice and the Artistic Achievement Award at Outfest LA. The film will be coming to DVD/Blu-ray/VOD in September.

“Brothers of the Night,” directed by Patric Chiha, an official selection at the Berlin Film Festival. The film will be coming to DVD/Blu-ray/VOD in November.

“Sleeping Giant,” directed by Andrew Cividino – Official Selection Cannes Critics’ Week / Winner – Best Canadian Film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Coming to DVD/Blu-ray in December.

– Level 33 Entertainment has acquired the North American rights to three thrillers that will be released across all key distribution platforms in the U.S. and Canada throughout 2017:

In “200 Degrees,” stock broker Ryan Hinds awakes inside a sealed industrial kiln. A mysterious voice sets out a seemingly impossible task: deliver one million dollars in two hours or the temperature in the kiln will rise until Ryan is burned alive. The film was written by Garry Charles and directed by Giorgio Serafini.

In “Unhinged,” Steve Walsh is living the high life but it’s a life built on the ruin of other people’s dreams. Peter Farrell is a man who was wronged by Walsh and there are few things as dangerous as a man with nothing left to lose in search of retribution. “Unhinged” stars Sean Patrick Flanery, Eric Balfour, Cherilyn Wilson, and Nick Stevenson. The film was written by Garry Charles and directed by Giorgio Serafini.

READ MORE: Film Acquisition Rundown: Oscilloscope Picks Up ‘November,’ The Orchard Buys ‘Flower’ and More

In “Flashburn,” Wes Nolan wakes up in an abandoned warehouse with a case of amnesia. He has been kidnapped by someone named Lazarus who has him held captive in order to obtain the cure for an Ebola outbreak. Written by Garry Charles, Giorgio Serafini, and Sean Patrick Flanery and directed by Giorgio Serafini, “Flashburn” stars Sean Patrick Flanery, Cameron Richardson, Romen L. McPherson and Justin Fischer.

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