Strand buys Sundancer ‘First Love’

NEW YORK — Strand Releasing of Santa Monica has acquired North American rights to Jesse Peretz’s debut feature “First Love, Last Rites,” which makes its U.S. premiere next month at the Sundance Film Festival.

Starring Giovanni Ribisi (“subUrbia”), Natasha Gregson Wagner (“Two Girls and a Guy”) and Robert John Burke (“The Unbelievable Truth”), “First Love” is set in the steamy bayou country outside New Orleans. The screenplay was written by ex-Lemonheads drummer David Ryan from a short story by British writer Ian McEwan.

“First Love,” which made its world preem at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival, was produced by Scott Macaulay, Robin O’Hara and Herbert Beigel. Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Amanda Temple are exec producers.

Human emotion

“Jesse possesses a unique, keen ability to express human emotion visually. You can’t help but be reminded, of both the good and bad, of your first hopelessly tragic love affair,” said Jon Gerrans, who is co-president of Strand along with Marcus Hu.

The soundtrack will be released by Epic Records. It consists of original songs written by Nathan Larson and Craig Wedron that are performed by Shudder to Think. Featured guest vocalists include John Doe, Matt Johnson, Angela McClusky, Nina Persson of the Cardigans, Liz Phair and Robin Zander.

Peretz’s previous credits include four short films, more than 50 musicvideos and commercials, as well as MTV’s popular “Jimmy McBride, Cab Driver” spots.

Strand has three films currently in release — “A Self Made Hero,” “Nenette et Boni” and photographer Cindy Sherman’s feature debut “Office Killer.” Upcoming titles include John Duigan’s “Lawn Dogs,” starring Sam Rockwell, Brian Sloan’s “I Think I Do” and Michael Paxton’s documentary “Ayn Rand — A Sense of Life.”

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