Paris-based leading distribution company ARP Selection has bought a pair of U.S. indie gems from the fall festival circuit, Shane Atkinson’s feature debut “LaRoy” and Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla.”
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“LaRoy,” a neo-noir Western comedy with Coen brothers influences, just won three major prizes at the Deauville Film Festival, including the Grand Prize, Audience Award and Critics Prize; while “Priscilla” world premiered at the Venice Film Festival and won best actress for Cailee Spaeny.
Produced by Cannes-based company Adastra Films, the film stars John Magaro as Ray, who decides to kill himself after discovering his wife has been cheating on him. But just before he pulls a trigger, a stranger takes him for a low-rent hitman.
Michele Halberstadt, who presides over ARP Selection with Laurent Pétin, praised “LaRoy” for its “wonderful script, pitch-perfect performances and heart.” She said she had a “coup de coeur” for the movie after discovering it at Deauville and fell for its “director-driven mise-en-scene, humor and endearing characters.” ARP Selection will release the movie in April. The Exchange Films is handling international sales.
“Priscilla,” a subtle drama exploring the troubled relationship between Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Elvis, was bought by ARP Selection out of the Venice Film Festival. Halberstadt said she was drawn by the “unique way” Coppola expressed the feeling of “melancholy and golden prisons” with an ease and softness.” Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, who plays Elvis, were granted a SAG-AFTRA waiver to promote the film amid the strike, and attended the Venice premiere alongside Coppola and Presley. The indie film was greeted with an emotional 7-minute standing ovation and garnered stellar reviews with Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman describing it as a “piercingly authentic inside drama.” It was produced by Lorenzo Mieli for Fremantle’s The Apartment Pictures, Coppola for American Zoetrope and Youree Henley. The film was financed by Fremantle Group.
ARP Selection will release the movie on Jan. 3. MUBI acquired all rights worldwide (excluding North America and Italy), and retained the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, Latin America, Benelux and Turkey for distribution. The Match Factory is selling the remaining territories. A24 has U.S. rights.
One of France’s rare distributors still buying U.S. indie movies for theaters, ARP Selection was also at Deauville festival with Todd Haynes’ “May December,” an Oscar contender starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, and Karim Ainouz’s “Firebrand” starring Jude Law and Alicia Vikander which opened the Normandie-set festival. Both movies competed at this year’s Cannes.