×

Sundance Award Winner ‘We the Animals’ Sells to The Orchard (EXCLUSIVE)

The Orchard has purchased North American rights to “We the Animals” following its debut at the Sundance Film Festival. The coming-of-age story will get a theatrical release in 2018.

It marks the second Sundance acquisition for The Orchard — the indie studio partnered with MoviePass for rights to “American Animals,” a heist thriller with Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan. The Orchard was also in the mix for “Leave No Trace” and “Blindspotting,” but other studios ultimately landed the rights to those Sundance films.

We the Animals” won the NEXT Innovator Award at Sundance in a tie with “Night Comes On.” The film focuses on three boys growing up in rural New York. Their young parents have a stormy love affair that tears their family apart and reconstitutes it over the course of the film. Two of the boys grow into versions of their erratic but kindly father, but the youngest son, Jonah, is more sensitive and artistic in temperament, and forms a closer bond with his mother.

“We the Animals” was adapted by Dan Kitrosser and Jeremiah Zagar from Justin Torres’ debut novel of the same name. Critics hailed the sensitive direction of Zagar, as well as the performances of actors Evan Rosado, Isaiah Kristian and Josiah Gabriel, all of whom were first-time performers. IndieWire’s Eric Kohn compared it favorably to “Moonlight,” writing that it “…evokes a growing awareness of being ostracized in an indifferent life, until the ecstatic potential for a new stage finally lands.”

“With ‘We the Animals,’ Jeremiah has masterfully created a dream-like backdrop for a story of personal identity and family,” Paul Davidson, the Orchard’s EVP for film and TV, said in a statement. “It is a captivating, magnetic film that deserves to be seen in theaters and we are proud to be a part of making that happen.”

“It’s always been my dream to get this movie out in theaters as widely as possible, and I’m thrilled to work with The Orchard to make that happen. I think they’re the perfect partner for this film,” Zagar said.

The cast also includes Raúl Castillo and Sheila Vand.

The deal was negotiated by Danielle DiGiacomo, VP of Acquisitions for the Orchard, and Eric Sloss of Cinetic Media. “We the Animals” was financed by Cinereach and produced by Cinereach and Public Record.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Fernando Meirelles The Two Popes

    AFI Fest Adds 'The Two Popes,' 'Aeronauts,' Alan Pakula Tribute

    The American Film Institute has added “The Two Popes” and “The Aeronauts” as galas during the upcoming AFI Fest along with a tribute to the late director Alan Pakula. AFI had previously announced that the romantic drama “Queen & Slim” would launch the 33rd annual festival on Nov. 14 and close with the world premiere [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Recalls Husband Blake Edwards' Battle With Depression

    The line to see Julie Andrews at the 92Y wrapped around the square of a sprawling New York City block. Seventy years since the start of her career, 60 since she asked “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” as Lerner and Loewe’s first Eliza and 50 since she sang “The Sound of Music” before the Eastern Alps [...]

  • Bloodshot (Vin Diesel) in Columbia Pictures'

    Vin Diesel Comes Back to Life in 'Bloodshot' Trailer

    Vin Diesel is coming back again and again in Sony Pictures’ first trailer for “Bloodshot.” In the forthcoming superhero adventure, Diesel portrays Ray Garrison a.k.a. Bloodshot, a soldier who gets rebuilt by a corporation following his death. The clip, released Monday and scored to Johnny Cash’s rendition of the ballad “Memories are Made of This,” [...]

  • Bouli Lanners Teams With 'Peaky Blinders'

    Bouli Lanners Teams With 'Peaky Blinders' Director Tim Mielants on 'Wise Blood'

    Bouli Lanners, the Belgian actor-director of “The Giants” and “Eldorado,” is teaming with “Peaky Blinders” helmer Tim Mielants to direct “Wise Blood,” an English-language film that will star “Game of Thrones” actor Michelle Fairley and Julian Glover. “Wise Blood” is a Belgian-Scottish-French co-production between Versus Production, Barry Crerar, and Playtime, which will handle international sales [...]

  • Bombshell Charlize Theron Megyn Kelly

    'Bombshell': Why Charlize Theron Was Terrified of Playing Megyn Kelly

    Charlize Theron is getting some of the best buzz of her career for channeling Megyn Kelly in “Bombshell,” but the Oscar-winning actress admits she almost turned down the role. “I was shit scared,” Theron said during a question-and-answer session following a Manhattan screening of “Bombshell” on Sunday. Partly, she was worried about portraying someone who [...]

  • Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner's Hazy

    Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner's Hazy Mills to Co-Produce SAG Awards

    Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner’s Hazy Mills Productions have joined the SAG Awards producing team. The guild announced this morning that Kathy Connell will once again serve as the show’s producer along with Hayes and Milliner in partnership with Avalon Harbor. “Attending the SAG Awards has always been a pleasure and a privilege for me,” [...]

  • Maleficent Mistress of Evil

    Box Office: Why 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Fizzled

    Despite nabbing first place at the domestic box office, Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted significantly below expectations and demonstrated that even the most powerful studio in Hollywood is susceptible to missteps. The follow-up to 2014’s “Maleficent” kicked off in North America with a lackluster $36 million bow, an underwhelming result for a film that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content