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Sundance: Netflix Buys Hilary Swank Thriller ‘I Am Mother’

The Sundance Film Festival may have wrapped up on Saturday, but the sales haven’t stopped. Netflix has finalized a deal for North American rights to “I Am Mother,” a sci-fi thriller that stars Hilary Swank.

The film strikes a cautionary note about the dangers of automation. It is set in a dystopic future, one in which humanity has largely been wiped out. In this setting, a teenage girl (Clara Rugaard) is raised to be the first of a new generation of humans. She is created by “Mother” (Rose Byrne), a robot designed to repopulate Earth, and brought up in a bunker. The bond between robot and “daughter” is strained with the arrival of a badly injured stranger (Swank), a woman who is deeply distrustful of “Mother” for reasons that soon become clear. “I Am Mother” marks the feature film directing debut of Grant Sputore. He cooked up the story with Michael Lloyd Green, who wrote the script.

Though it didn’t match Amazon, which shelled out some $50 million in pursuit of Sundance films, Netflix was an active buyer at this year’s festival. The company bought “Knock Down the House,” a documentary about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset congressional win, and “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” a thriller with Zac Efron playing serial killer Ted Bundy.

Netflix previously locked down several international territories for the film. The robot was created by the special effects team at WETA Workshop, who previously designed the effects for “Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar.”

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Producers include Kelvin Munro for The Penguin Empire and Timothy White for Southern Light Films. Executive produers are Terry Dougas and Jean-Luc De Fanti for Rhea Films, Paris Kasidokostas Latsis, Bryce Menzies, Philip Wade, John Wade, and Sputore. Anna Vincent and Lloyd Green were co-producers.

Endeavor Content handled the sale on behalf of the filmmakers.

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