Toronto: Amazon Buys ‘The Vast of Night’ (EXCLUSIVE)

The Vast of Night
Courtesy of Slamdance Film Festival

Amazon Studios has acquired worldwide rights to “The Vast of Night,” an alien contact tale, Variety has learned. The pact comes ahead of the film’s Thursday premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it is featured in the Midnight Madness section.

The film is said to have a distinct “Twilight Zone” vibe. It is set at the dawn of the space race and takes place over the course of one night in 1950s New Mexico. It follows a young switchboard operator (Sierra McCormick) and a radio DJ (Jake Horowitz) as they uncover a strange frequency, which they investigate to uncover its origin.

“The Vast of Night” is from first-time filmmaker Andrew Patterson and has earned strong reviews in the lead up to its official premiere, with many reviewers citing the confidence of the direction and the performances of the youthful cast. Film School Rejects called it an “out of this world directorial debut” and A.V. Club dubbed it “eerie and compelling.”

Amazon apparently agreed, believing that Patterson is a filmmaker to watch.

“When we discovered ‘The Vast of Night,’ we were all blown away by this slow-burn, supernatural story and the spectacular filmmaking,” said Ted Hope, co-head of movies at Amazon Studios, in a statement. “Andrew Patterson is immensely talented with huge potential to become the next voice of this genre. We are so thrilled to be working with Andrew and can’t wait to see what he has coming up next.”

It also marks Amazon’s second deal of the day. The streaming service picked up U.S. rights to “The Sound of Metal,” a drama about a drummer who loses hearings that stars Riz Ahmed, beating out several other distributors. Amazon also has used Toronto to showcase two upcoming projects, the political thriller “The Report” and the adventure story “The Aeronauts.”

“The Vast of Night” is produced by Adam Dietrich, Melissa Kirkendall and James Montague. Executive producers are Eric Williams, Caleb Henry and Marcus Ross. It was written by Montague and Craig Sanger.

“The Vast of Night” world premiered out of the Slamdance Film Festival, where it won the audience award for best narrative feature. Recently the film also won the jury award at the Overlook Film Festival in New Orleans.

Patterson is represented by WME and Ziffren Law. Endeavor Content and WME negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.