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In today’s film news roundup, Eric Bana will star in Australian drama “The Dry,” Magnolia buys “Hail Satan?,” and South Africa’s Oscar entry “Sew the Winter to My Skin” gets U.S. distribution.

CASTING

Eric Bana will star in the Australian police drama “The Dry,” a feature adaptation of Jane Harper’s bestselling novel, with shooting starting in February.

Robert Connolly will direct from a script he has co-written with Harry Cripps. Australian native Bruna Papandrea is producing through her Made Up Stories production company along with Jodi Matterson and Steve Hutensky. Bana and Connolly are executive producers with Ricci Swart and Andrew Myer.

“The Dry” won the Ned Kelly Award for best first crime fiction in 2017 and was voted best crime and thriller at the 2018 British Book Awards. The story centers on a policeman who returns to the country town he grew up in to investigate a murder-suicide.

“The Dry” will be the first Australian film for Bana since 2007’s “Romulus, My Father.” He currently stars in Bravo’s crime series “Dirty John.”

ACQUISITIONS

Magnolia Pictures has acquired rights to Penny Lane’s documentary “Hail Satan?” following the announcement that it will premiere in U.S. Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival.

The movie traces the rise of the Satanic Temple and its enigmatic leader Lucien Greaves. The group uses Satanic imagery to promote egalitarianism, social justice, and the separation of church and state.

“Penny Lane has crafted an eye-opening and completely satisfying film about outsiders who have united around the common causes of love and religious freedom,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. “’Hail Satan?’ is as uplifting and hilarious as it is thought-provoking.”

The movie is A Hard Working Movies Production produced by Gabriel Sedgwick. The film received grant support from Catapult Film Fund, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program with JustFilms / Ford Foundation, Rooftop Films, Cinereach, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and Colgate University.

Magnolia plans to begin selling international rights at the European Film Market at the Berlin Film Festival.

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Juno Films has acquired the exclusive North American rights to “Sew the Winter to My Skin,” by South African director Jahmil X.T. Qubeka.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and is South Africa’s best foreign film contender. The film will open in New York city in 2019 followed by a national rollout in theaters across the U.S., digital, educational, and home video.

Based on a true story, John Kepe was an Apartheid-era folk hero who proclaimed himself the “Samson of the Boschberg.” For decades, Kepe stole livestock and other goods from white colonist farmers and shared his spoils with the impoverished Indigenous population. He escaped capture for 12 years before he was brought before a court and sentenced to death for a murder that he might or might not have committed.

Juno’s recent releases include “Cielo” and “God Knows Where I Am.”