IFC Films Acquires Sundance Drama ‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Sundance Film Festival The Stanford Prison

A month after “The Stanford Prison Experiment” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews, IFC Films has acquired the psychology drama, Variety has learned.

The distributor is planning both a theatrical and VOD release for the film directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, with a cast that includes Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Tye Sheridan and Michael Anganaro.

The movie tells the story of a controversial, groundbreaking experiment at Stanford University by psychologist Philip Zimbardo (Crudup) in 1971 that had 18 male undergraduates take on the roles of either prisoners or abusive guards.

The script by Tim Talbott is adapted from Zimbardo’s book “The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil,” and the project had been in the works with various casts and directors attached for more than a decade.

“Strictly on a technical level, Alvarez’s filmmaking is largely faultless here,” Variety film critic Justin Chang wrote in a review. “D.p. Jas Shelton’s use of widescreen expertly captures the tense group dynamics at play and the often-violent choreography of bodies within the frame, and his camera manages to find dynamic angles on the action while crucially conveying the suffocating sense of a locked-in environment.”

“The Stanford Prison Experiment” was produced by Abandon Features, Sandbar Pictures’ Lizzie Friedman and Greg Little, and Coup d’État Films’ Brent Emery and Lauren Bratman. Brian Geraghty executive produced the film. Abandon Features, Sandbar Pictures and Vineyard Point Productions financed it.

The deal was negotiated by UTA Independent Film Group and Arianna Bocco, SVP of acquisitions at IFC Films.