CANNES — Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all North American, Latin American, Spanish and Australian rights to Sandra Goldbacher’s feature debut “The Governess,” a period romantic drama starring Minnie Driver and Tom Wilkinson, from Pandora Cinema, which is handling sales for all other territories.
The New York-based arthouse division also announced that it has upped Dylan Leiner to VP of acquisitions. Leiner joined SPC three years ago as an assistant to co-president Marcie Bloom. After serving as director of technical services and acquisitions, he was promoted to the new post of exec director of acquisitions and post-production last fall.
After more than nine months tracking the project, SPC’s Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, along with Pandora prexy Ernst Goldschmidt, closed the “Governess” deal in Cannes. Bloom, who has been on leave recovering from an illness, also played a role in setting up the pre-buy.
“We feel ‘The Governess’ has the potential to be a successful film,” Bloom said in a statement. “We have great faith in Sandra Goldbacher as a major new filmmaker.”
Co-financiers of the film will be Pandora, Arts Council of England and Wales, British Screen and BBC Films.
Slated to shoot on location in London and Scotland over the summer, “Governess” will be produced by Sarah Curtis (“Mrs. Brown”) for Parallax Pictures and exec produced by Sally Hibbin.
Set in England between the Georgian and Victorian eras, “The Governess” is the story of a young Jewish woman who takes a job as a nanny with a gentile family on the Isle of Skye off the coast of Scotland after the death of her father.
Barker, co-president of SPC, added: “The quality of Sandra Goldbacher’s writing is extraordinary, and we feel that this picture — with its beautifully drawn characters, romantic story line, fine actors, lush period settings and rich costumes — will draw audiences all over the world.”