Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s psychological thriller Penance (Shokuzai) first aired on Japanese TV early last year as a serial drama. Music Box Films will release it theatrically in summer 2014 after snagging distribution rights for the U.S., Canada, UK and Ireland, followed by DVD and digital rollouts. It’s the latest addition to Music Box’s slate of foreign TV acquisitions joining Sweden’s Wallander, Germany’s Generation War and France’s The Returned. Penance begins when a mysterious stranger approaches a group of young girls, then kidnaps and brutally murders one of them. Wracked with grief, the victim’s unhinged mother demands that the four survivors identify the killer or face a penance of her choosing. They grow up in the shadow of that tragic debt. Music Box president William Schopf negotiated the deal with Miyuki Takamatsu of Free Stone Productions on behalf of Japanese network WOWOW.
AUGUSTINE is an examination of the real case story and unusual relationship between Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot, the pioneering 19th century French neurologist and his star teenage patient. The film had its international premiere in Critics’ Week of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and will make its U.S. debut in Rendez Vous With French Cinema this March. Music Box Films plans a spring 2013 release.
The 1970s-set drama stars Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt as a gay couple who take on a biased legal system in a fight to adopt a mentally handicapped teenager they’ve rescued from a bad home. Travis Fine directed and co-wrote Any Day Now with George Arthur Bloom, and …
New York, NY (May 16, 2012) – Music Box Films announced today that the company is acquiring all North American rights to Sean Baker’s STARLET, a provocative showcase for newcomer Dree Hemingway (great granddaughter of Ernest and daughter of Mariel). STARLET premiered in competition at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival, where it was one of the most buzzed about and risqué titles.
STARLET explores the unlikely cross-generational friendship between 21 year-old Jane (Hemingway), and the elderly Sadie (Besedka Johnson), two women whose worlds collide in California’s San Fernando Valley. After a confrontation between the women at Sadie’s yard sale, Jane uncovers a hidden stash of money inside a relic from Sadie’s past. Jane attempts to befriend the caustic older woman in an effort to solve her dilemma and secrets emerge as their relationship grows.
With all eyes focused on Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games this weekend, not many will notice Music Box Films’ quiet limited (NY, LA, Miami) launch of their 2011 Toronto Film Festival pickup The Deep Blue Sea. It’s the first narrative film in over a decade from British director Terence Davies — his last was 2000′s The House Of Mirth – and stars Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz in another Oscar-bait role. Davies did do a highly regarded 2008 documentary, Of Time And The City, in the long interim between narrative projects.
With an impressive 84% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and major raves today from the NY and LA Times among others, Weisz and the film are winning the kind of top reviews that Oscar voters usually notice. In fact, Music Box was toying with the idea of opening the heavy relationship drama for a week in December in order to qualify for the last Oscars but finally decided it was not in the film’s best interests to rush it out there — especially with such a competitive Best Actress race already going on. Plus, Weisz had another potential awards role with the August release The Whistleblower, so it might have just confused things, though as it turned out the Samuel Goldwyn Co did not end up campaigning Whistleblower in any significant way. A March opening for Deep Blue Sea is a tough time for releasing Oscar contenders and hoping they will be remembered. Nevertheless Weisz’s emotionally naked performance as a 1950′s-era woman caught in an unsatisfying marriage and embarking on a torrid affair with a younger man (played by War Horse’s Tom Hiddleston) is the kind of thing actors crave, and it’s certainly one of the few female roles of any real substance to surface at this early point in the year.