Just ahead of its world premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, A24 Films has acquired the distribution rights to Atom Egoyan’s The Captive. This marks the second pick-up of a film playing in competition, following news that Sony Pictures Classics picked up the French-language biopic Saint Laurent, which we previously reported. A24 Films snagged in the film in a partnership with DirecTV and is planning to release the psychological thriller sometime this fall, likely in conjunction with a VOD release. Consensus will arise shortly after the film makes its official bow, but the pick-up sure looks like a vote of confidence.
Egoyan, a filmmaker who was born in Egypt and reared in Canada, has become a mainstay with Cannes. He’s premiered the majority of his films there, including his acclaimed breakthrough, the 1997 drama The Sweet Hereafter, which evocatively explored the aftermath of tragic bus accident. That film starred Ian Holm, Bruce Greenwood, and a young Sarah Polley and became one on the dominant critical hits of 1997, netting the Grand Jury Prize (technically, second place) at Cannes and earning Egoyan Academy Award nominations for Directing and Screenplay. While that film seemed to mark the apex of Egoyan’s career, he has since followed it up with films as varied as Felicia’s Journey (1999), Where the Truth Lies (2005) and Adoration (2008), all of which made their premiere in competition at Cannes. Most recently, he tackled the first narrative feature based on the West Memphis Three with the film Devil’s Knot starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth.
The Captive seems to bind the themes the filmmaker explored so eloquently in The Sweet Hereafter as the film examines the mystery behind the disappearance of a young girl and a father (played by Ryan Reynolds) who tries reconcile the events while maintaining hope for her return. Scott Speedman (who appeared in Egoyan’s Adoration), Rosario Dawson (Trance) and Mireille Enos (World War Z, Devil’s Knot) co-star. “A24 is an extremely exciting company right now with a very smart vision of the future,” said eOne’s Harold van Lier. eOne Films International is distributing the film in Canada.
A24 Films is a distribution company founded in 2012 by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges and in just a short time of being on the game has brought such memorable films as Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring, The Spectacular Now and Under the Skin to American theaters. They are planning to release The Captive this fall; however, in the meantime the film will try to impress Jane Campion and the other members of the Cannes jury in the hopes of netting a prize.