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Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Cowboy Drama ‘The Rider’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Sony Pictures Classics has landed distributions rights for “The Rider” in North America and other territories, Variety has learned.

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight to strong reviews on Saturday. It’s the second project from writer-director Chloé Zhao, who made the 2015 Sundance drama “Songs My Brothers Taught Me.”

The Rider” tells the story of a cowboy (played by Brady Jandreau) who embarks on a road trip through America after a near death accident.

In a review for Variety, Guy Lodge wrote that “The Rider” “could be the stuff of many a corn-syrup country ballad, but gains artful integrity from Zhao’s favored docu-fiction technique — roughly tracing a script around the experiences of her non-professional actors — and dusty-dreamy visual style.”

As part of the pact, Sony Pictures Classic will release the film in Latin America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Eastern Europe. The movie was produced by Caviar and Highwayman Films, including Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, and Mollye Asher.

It’s been a slow Cannes Film Festival, as the market has failed to produce enough titles that buyers have been excited about. Distributors have griped that the packages in the south of France have lacked star power, and most of the finished films sold earlier in the script stage.

Last week, Sony Pictures Classics also scooped up the in-competition drama “Loveless,” from Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev.

The Cannes Film Festival runs through the weekend.

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