Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to “Censor,” which had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival opening the Midnight Section, and will also be part of the Berlinale Panorama section in March. Protagonist is handling world sales.
The film is the debut feature by Prano Bailey-Bond (read Variety’s interview with her here), who was recently named as one of Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch,” and stars Niamh Algar (“Calm With Horses,” “Raised by Wolves”). Magnolia is targeting June 11 as the release date.
The movie centers on film censor Enid (Algar), who discovers an eerie horror that speaks directly to her sister’s mysterious disappearance. She resolves to unravel the puzzle behind the film and its enigmatic director – a quest that will blur the lines between fiction and reality in terrifying ways.
Vanity Fair included “Censor” as one of the best films of Sundance; The Playlist called it “an impressive, visually stunning, deeply disturbing debut”; and Indiewire stated “the movie shows the mark of a filmmaker in full command of vintage horror’s most disturbing strengths and well-equipped to resurrect them.” Variety’s review said: “ ‘Censor’ is a stylish calling card for all involved, one that certainly demonstrates an impressive level of directorial control for a debut filmmaker.”
Eamonn Bowles, Magnolia’s president, said: “Prano Bailey-Bond has delivered a frightening, incredibly original film. It is a rare work that has a lot on its mind as well as being genuinely terrifying.”
Bailey-Bond added: “Magnolia Pictures champion exactly the unique, powerful cinema that I love, releasing titles that have truly resonated with me: ‘The Square,’ ‘Let the Right One In,’ ‘Shoplifters,’ ‘Tangerine’… for ‘Censor’ to have found a home on this remarkable slate is amazing!”
The deal was negotiated by Magnolia exec VP Dori Begley and Magnolia senior VP of acquisitions John Von Thaden with George Hamilton, head of sales at Protagonist, on behalf of the filmmakers.
Hamilton said: “Prano is one of the most original U.K. filmmaking voices of this new decade and we cannot wait for Magnolia to unleash ‘Censor’ on North American audiences.”
Directed by Bailey-Bond, and written by Bailey-Bond and Anthony Fletcher, “Censor” is produced by Silver Salt Films’ Helen Jones. It was developed by the BFI, Film4, Creative England via the BFI Network and Ffilm Cymru Wales.
Production funding came from the BFI and Ffilm Cymru Wales, both awarding National Lottery funding, and from Film4. Executive producers are Andy Starke, Ant Timpson, Kim Newman, Naomi Wright, Lauren Dark, Ollie Madden, Daniel Battsek, Mary Burke and Kimberley Warner.