Several upcoming arthouse titles, including at least one award winner, have scored new distribution deals with boutique U.S. distributors.
Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired North American rights to Ondi Timoner’s biopic “Mapplethorpe,” starring Matt Smith as famed photo artist Robert Mapplethorpe, with plans for a late Fall release. The story follows his work at the famed Chelsea hotel in the early 1970s where he begins photographing its inhabitants and newfound circle of friends including artists and musicians, socialites, film stars and members of the S&M underground.
Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to Italian director Matteo Garrone’s gritty Italian-language urban western revenge drama “Dogman” which scored the best actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The story is inspired by a murder committed by a dog groomer during the late 1980s in a gang-ridden area outside Rome. Marcello Fonte plays the mild-mannered dog groomer caught up in spiralling violence with a bullying boxer in the film which will open next year in the United States.
LD Entertainment, Lionsgate, and Roadside Attractions are partnering to handle the U.S. release of “Ben Is Back” starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges with plans for a December 7th release. “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” scribe Peter Hedges pens the story of an eighteen-year-old boy who unexpectedly returns to his family’s suburban home on Christmas Eve morning. Over a turbulent 24 hours, new truths are revealed, and a mother’s undying love for her son is tested.
Gravitas Ventures has scored all U.S. rights to Michael Del Monte’s transgender documentary “Transformer” with plans for a theatrical and on-demand run from October 19th. The film won best documentary at both the Austin Film Festival and Hot Docs International Film Festival recently. The story follows Matt Kroczaleski, a world-record powerlifter, cancer survivor, father, and former U.S. Marine, as he transitions into a woman, now known as Janae.
Finally, The Orchard has snapped up North American rights to Karen Gillan’s directorial debut “The Party’s Just Beginning” with plans for a release this Fall. The story follows a young woman who is living an endless bacchanal to mask the severe pains from a recent loss. At the same time, a wrong number leads her to a connection with an old man grappling with regret and possible suicide.