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Strand Releasing Nabs U.S. Rights to Joao Pedro Rodrigues’ NYFF Player ‘The Ornithologist’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Strand Releasing has acquired all U.S. rights to provocative Portuguese director Joao Pedro Rodrigues’ “The Ornithologist,” ahead of its U.S. premiere at the New York Film Festival.

Sold by Berlin-based Films Boutique, “The Ornithologist” world-premiered at this year’s Locarno festival, where it won the Silver Leopard for best director. The film went on to Toronto for its North American bow.

Set along a river fjord in northern Portugal, the lushly lensed movie reimagines the myth of Saint Anthony of Padua, a Portuguese Catholic priest, as a modern-day parable of sexual and spiritual transcendence.

Commenting on the deal, Jean-Christophe Simon from Films Boutique said “The Ornithologist” was a “visionary film” which required a “visionary distribution company” like Strand Releasing to share it with U.S. audiences. Strand Releasing handled two previous films directed by Rodrigues, “Two Drifters” and “To Die Like a Man.”

Rodrigues said: “It’s nice to be working with a distributor that has maintained relationships with its filmmakers and to help bring these audacious voices from around the world to the U.S. market.”

The deal was negotiated between Simon from Films Boutique and Jon Gerrans and Marcus Hu from Strand Releasing.

“We’re thrilled to have this film. We’ve been tracking the film since the script stage, and seeing it develop to the final feature is very gratifying,” said Hu.

Strand Releasing’s slate of upcoming releases includes Alain Guiraudie’s “Staying Vertical,” another film playing at the New York Film Festival, as well as Rithy Panh’s “Exile.”

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