IFC Films has acquired worldwide rights to the SXSW award-winning documentary “Bad Axe.” The deeply personal film is directed by David Siev, and follows the director as he returns home to rural Michigan. There, he captures his Asian-American family’s quest to keep their local restaurant alive, amidst the backdrop of pandemic and Trump-era political and racial tensions. It’s Siev’s feature debut.

IFC Films will release “Bad Axe” in theaters and on VOD in 2022.

Producers include Jude Harris, Diane Quon, Katarina Vasquez, and Siev. The film was executive produced by Jeff Tremaine, Shanna Zablow Newton, Marci Wiseman, Daniel J. Chalfen, Dawn Bonder, Michael Meinhold and Tim Chow.

“Bad Axe” had its world premiere at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award and received Special Jury Recognition for Exceptional Intimacy in Storytelling in the Documentary Feature Competition. The festival jury noted, “Stories centered on the pursuit of the ‘American Dream’ abound. Rarely do they portray the sacrifices and recurrent trials that the promise of a better life entails the way director David Siev accomplishes. For its ability to reveal something unexpected about the American fabric and the American family, ‘Bad Axe’ deserves celebration.”

“David’s love letter to his hometown of ‘Bad Axe,’ is a powerful and humanistic portrayal of a family navigating life through an historic time,” Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films said. “We’re thrilled to partner on this multi-layered documentary that is exactly the kind of independent cinema we are proud to foster. Many films speak about social justice and the American dream, but rarely are we granted such perspective and insight to those living through the personal sacrifice it sometimes takes to live in America. We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome David and his family to the IFC Films family.”

“This is a deeply personal project and I’m grateful for IFC Films’ passion for my vision and the way that they have embraced my family and our story,” Siev said. “IFC’s commitment to independent, director-driven films shines through in all of their acquisitions. I’m honored for ‘Bad Axe’ to join their extraordinary slate.”

The deal for the film was negotiated by Adam Koehler, manager of acquisitions at IFC Films with Andrew Herwitz, president of The Film Sales Company on behalf of the filmmakers.