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Neon has acquired U.S. rights to Philippe Lacôte’s prison drama “Night of the Kings,” which premiered Monday in the Horizons sidebar of the Venice Film Festival.

“Night of the Kings” is set to play at both the Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival later this month. The film, which has been chosen as the Ivory Coast submission for this year’s Academy Awards, stars newcomer Koné Bakary.

The film follows a young man on his first night in the infamous Ivorian prison, “La Maca.” Upon arriving, he is christened the “Roman,” or “Storyteller,” and must entertain his audience until morning, risking death should he fail. Under a blood-red moon, he crafts a tale weaving together the country’s mythological past and recent history, while around him, prison politics threaten to boil over.

Lacôte wrote and directed the film which, in addition to Bakary, stars Steve Tientcheu, Rasmane Ouedraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Abdoul Karim Konate, Anzian Marcel, Laetitia Ky and Denis Lavant. It’s produced by Delphine Jaquet, Yanick Letourneau, Ernest Konan, Yoro Mbaye and Banshee Films, Wassakara Productions, Peripheria and Yennenga Productions.

“Night of the Kings” marks the third Oscar submission by the Ivory Coast. The first was “Black and White in Color” in 1976, which went on to win the Academy Award for best foreign language film. The other film was Lacôte’s debut feature, “Run.”

Neon handled the North American release of “Parasite,” which won the Academy Award for best picture and best director for Bong Joon Ho. The Korean-language thriller grossed more than $53 million domestically.

Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal for Neon with Emilie Georges and Mathieu Delaunay of Memento Films International on behalf of the filmmakers. Memento Films International is handling international sales.