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Neon has acquired worldwide rights to “The Painter and the Thief,” directed by Benjamin Ree, which made its world premiere at Sundance, where it won the world cinema documentary special jury prize for creative storytelling.

The film was produced by Ingvil Giske and executive produced by Academy Award winning filmmaker Morgan Neville.

When two paintings by Czech naturalist Barbora Kysilkova are stolen from an Oslo art gallery, the thieves are quickly identified though the paintings are nowhere to be found. Hoping to learn what happened, Barbora reaches out to one of the thieves, Karl-Bertil Nordland, asking to paint him. Over a series of portraits and many years the two form an unlikely friendship.

Using a structure that shifts perspectives, Norwegian filmmaker Benjamin Ree “unfolds the fraught lives and vulnerabilities of two souls who come to recognize themselves in the other,” according to a statement.

Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal for Neon along with Salma Abdalla from Autolook on behalf of the filmmakers.

Neon most recently made history with four Academy Award wins for Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” including best picture, director, original screenplay and international feature.

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