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Locarno: Film Movement Takes North America on ‘Hockney’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Sold by HanWay Select, Randall Wright’s docu-feature captures the breadth of Hockney’s ambitions at a vigorous 77

LOCARNO – New York-based Film Movement has acquired all North American rights to the HanWay Select-sold “Hockney,” Randall Wright’s vision of the famed painter.

Revealed at Locarno by Film Movement president Michael E. Rosenberg, The company’s U.S and Canada pickup marks one of the first deal announcements at the 68th Locarno Fest as its Industry Days and industry attendance kicks into full swing, with the festival running Aug. 8-10.

World premiering at 2014’s London Film Festival, the film follows up Wright’s 2003 “Secret Life,” focused on Hockney’s fear of the sway of photography.

Negotiated by Rosenberg and Mark Lane, HanWay Select sales and distribution director, the deal covers North American theatrical, educational, digital, and home video rights. “Hockney” will continue its festival run in the U.S. via Film Movement, then see theatrical released in April 2016 – film contains about 200 of Hockney’s paintings in high definition, meriting big screen viewing — before its U.S. TV premiere on Smithsonian Channel in June.

“We’re delighted to be working with Film Movement, who’ve shown incredible passion for ‘Hockney,’ a remarkable and insightful film about one of the world’s great artists,” said HanWay’s Lane.

“Randall Wright not only has a way of connecting with artists, but can skillfully craft a portrait of their lives and work onscreen,” said Rosenberg.

A personal portrait of the life, art and craft of the painter, 77, who still works seven days a week, “Hockney” includes access to his personal video collection and original testaments of friends so as to paint a more complex portrait of a painter whose life and art inextricably overlays and meshes. “Evidence of a private David is … very deeply connected to what he’s trying to do as an artist, which is to subvert the mainstream media as well as to be a traditional artist using oil and acrylic and etching and drawing techniques,” Wright, whose credits also include “Lucien Freud: Painted Life,” told Sight and Sound.

Film Movement describes Hockney as “one of the last surviving icons of the ‘60s,” who “started his career with almost instant success, but in private struggle with his art, relationships and the tragedy of AIDs” and how, after his relocation to Hollywood, “his lifelong struggle to escape labels (‘queer,’ ‘working class,’ ‘figurative’) was fully realized. “Hockney” reveals “the optimism so often found in his iconographic work,” the company said.

Founded in 2002, Film Movement has carved out a business and proved a consistent North American distribution option for a highly eclectic range of award-winning U.S. indie and foreign titles. Recent acquisitions include Zachary Treitz’s “Men Go to Battle,” an American Civil War drama; Matt Sobel’s Sundance drama “Take Me To the River,” a teen’s coming out tale; Finecut-sold social horror film “Sea Fog,” helmed by Shim Song-Bo and produced by Bong Joon-Ho; and Melanie Laurent’s “Breathe,” a teen girl friendship story, which opens in New York Sept. 11 at the IFC Center.

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