CANNES — Los Angeles-based Jour de Fete Films has acquired U.S. theatrical distribution rights to Chaiken Films’ festival favorite “Big Eden,” the feature directorial debut of Thomas Bezucha, which stars Arye Gross, Louise Fletcher and Eric Schweig.
Pic is the story of a New York artist (Gross) who returns to his small Montana hometown to take care of his ailing father. There, he comes to terms with the object of his unrequited love and finds a surprise happy ending to his quest.
Pic is a Chaiken production, co-produced by John D. Vaughan and produced by Jennifer Chaiken.
“Eden” is set to open June 1 in Los Angeles and San Francisco, expanding to New York, Chicago, Denver, Seattle and Texas in the following weeks, with national expansion set for July.
“We constantly hear that ‘Big Eden’ is the first gay film I would take my parents to see, and it took a special distributor like Jour de Fete to recognize the importance and commercial value of that,” Chaiken said.
“Big Eden” has won audience awards at gay and lesbian festivals around the world, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Aspen and Phoenix. Pic was awarded best picture at the recent Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, and earned Schweig a jury prize for best actor at the 2000 Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Film also picked up the audience awards for best feature of the festival and best American independent film at the 2001 Cleveland Intl. Film Festival.
Jour de Fete’s current release, “Boys to Men,” preemed April 27 in New York and Los Angeles.
Chaiken is looking to secure international representation for an early 2002 international release.