Directed by visual artist Pascual Sisto, the film follows 13-year-old John (Charlie Shotwell) who decides to drug his well-to-do parents (Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Ehle) and older sister (Taissa Farmiga). He then holds them captive within an unfinished bunker that he discovered while walking through the woods. Home alone, John experiences newfound freedom and independence.
IFC Films plans to release the film on August 6, 2021. The film marks Sisto’s feature debut. He was named one of Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch” in 2021. In a favorable review, Variety‘s Peter Debruge called Sisto a “remarkable new talent” and praised Shotwell’s performance.
“With any luck, the film will put both Shotwell and Sisto on the map,” Debruge wrote. “Through the subtlety of his performance, the actor cycles between identification and alienation, inviting genuine concern in certain circumstances. Meanwhile, Sisto’s the architect behind this whole crazy scenario, weaving a very dark thread of humor through an otherwise high-tension situation. We laugh in places when we don’t know how else to react, to defuse the pressure, because the vacuum inside John is so much scarier than the hole in his backyard.”
“John and the Hole” is adapted by screenwriter Nicolás Giacobone from his short story “El pozo”. Giacobone earned an Oscar for “Birdman,” as well as an Academy Award nomination for best foreign film for co-writing “Biutiful.” He has an upcoming film “Limbo” in production with “Birdman” and “Biutiful” director Alejandro Iñárritu that he also co-wrote. The sound design team includes Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, and Carlos Cortés who recently took home the Academy Award for sound on behalf of “Sound of Metal.”
The film is produced by Elika Portnoy and Alex Orlovsky of Mutressa Movies and Michael Bowes, and executive produced by 3311 alongside Phil Hoelting, Marco Vicini, and Fernando Tsai.
“Pascual has crafted a film that channels all the anger and uncertainty of adolescence into a meticulously constructed nail-biter that really gets under your skin,” Arianna Bocco, president of IFC Films, said. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with him for the release of this incredibly exciting debut.”
“It was very important to find a good home that will provide the right context for the film to find its audience,” Sisto said. “I’m extremely happy with IFC, it’s a company with an incredible history that really caters to each film and all their nuances. I’m excited for them to guide us into its final release.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films President Arianna Bocco with ICM Partners and UTA acting on behalf of the filmmakers. Sisto and Giacobone are also represented by both Untitled Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham LLC.