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Toronto: Magnolia Nabs North American Rights to ‘Under the Tree’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Magnolia Pictures has nabbed North American rights to “Under the Tree,” a new comedy from Icelandic writer and director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson, Variety has learned

Under the Tree” digs into the mounting tensions between two neighboring families in a quiet suburb. One man who is forced to move back with his parents after he is accused of adultery. While fighting for custody of his young daughter, he finds himself embroiled in a dispute between his parents and their neighbors over an old and beautiful tree. Things get derailed in violent fashion.

The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and is screening at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival, where the deal was inked. Magnolia will release the picture theatrically in 2018.

“‘Under the Tree’ takes the classic comedic conceit of warring neighbors and ratchets it up with a jaw-dropping intensity,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles in a statement. “It’s a singular and incredible film.”

Sigurdsson, whose previous films include “Either Way” and “Paris of the North,” added, “I have been following the lineup of Magnolia for many years. I’m really happy to be part of it now. We made this film with the viewers in mind – it feels great knowing that we can reach them also outside Iceland.”

“Under the Tree” is co-written by Huldar Breidfjörd and produced by Grimar Jonsson. The film is a co-production between Iceland’s Netop Films, Poland’s Madants, Denmark’s Profile Pictures and Germany’s One Two Films. It received support from the Icelandic Film Center, Danish Film Institute, Polish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, EurImages and ZDF/Arte.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia senior VP of acquisitions John Von Thaden, with ICM Partners and Jan Naszewski of New Europe Film Sales representing the filmmakers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Magnolia is one of the greatest champions of Scandinavian cinema in the U.S.,” said Naszewski, CEO of New Europe Film Sales. “I’m very happy to get such a strong partner in North America for ‘Under the Tree.'”

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