Sundance Selects has acquired U.S. rights to competition Cannes drama “I, Daniel Blake,” Variety has exclusively learned.
The movie, directed by Ken Loach, premiered May 12 to strong reviews. Several buyers circled film, the story about a disabled carpenter (Dave Johns) trying to hold on to his British welfare benefits as he befriends a single mother with two children. The cast also includes Hayley Squires, Dylan McKiernan and Briana Shann. The script was written by Paul Laverty.
“The quiet beauty of ‘I, Daniel Blake’ — the reason it’s the rare political drama that touches the soul — is that we believe, completely, in these people standing in front of us,” wrote Variety chief film critic Owen Gleiberman, calling it one of his favorite films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
“I, Daniel Blake” was produced by Rebecca O’Brien. Executive producers are Pascal Caucheteux, Grégoire Sorlat and Vincent Maraval.
Sundance Selects is the sister label of IFC Films, which previously released Loach’s Palme D’Or winner “The Wind That Shakes the Barley.” The sale marks the fifth 2016 Cannes competition title from the AMC Network-owned companies — a list that includes the Dardennes brothers’ “The Unknown Girl,” Cristian Mungiu’s “Graduation,” Olivier Assayas’ “Personal Shopper” and Nicole Garcia’s “From the Land of the Moon.”
Arianna Bocco, the senior VP of acquisitions and productions at Sundance Selects, negotiated the deal with Wild Bunch’s Carole Baraton.
Wild Bunch is handling international sales.