IFC Films has bought all domestic rights to director Jamie M. Dagg’s Alaska-set thriller “Sweet Virginia,” starring Jon Bernthal, Christopher Abbott, Imogen Poots, Rosemarie DeWitt and Odessa Young.
The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, was written by Ben and Paul China from their Black List script. Producers are Brian Kavanaugh-Jones for Automatik , Chris Ferguson for Oddfellows and Fernando Loureiro and Roberto Vasconcellos for Exhibit, who also financed. Executive producers are Rian Cahill and Jesse Savath along with Nate Bolotin and Aram Tertzakian from XYZ Films.
XYZ Films is handling international sales and will screen the film at the upcoming Marché du Film at the Cannes Film Festival.
The story follows a motel owner with a dark past, played by Bernthal, who unknowingly starts a rapport with a young hitman (Abbott) responsible for a spate of violence that has suddenly gripped a small town.
Variety’s Peter Debruge called the film “more than great” in his Tribeca review: “As translated to screen by director Jamie M. Dagg (whose sure hand and smart changes elevate things considerably), Benjamin and Paul China’s script yields one of the gnarliest and most unsettling movies we’re likely to get this year. Set in a remote corner of Alaska, this small-town, blue-collar thriller is surprisingly cast, exceptionally well acted (male leads Jon Bernthal and Christopher Abbott might have easily switched roles, though it’s far more effective in this arrangement), and executed potently enough to leave a lasting impression, like scar tissue after a serious burn.”
The deal for the rights was brokered by Arianna Bocco for IFC Films and by WME Global on behalf of the filmmakers.