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Picturehouse takes Sundance hit 'God's Own Country' for UK

EXCLUSIVE: Yorkshire-set drama will have its European premiere at the Berlinale.

Picturehouse Entertainment has acquired Sundance buzz title God’s Own Country for the UK.

Premiering in Sundance’s World Dramatic Competition last month, where it scooped the best directing jury prize for debutant Francis Lee, the Yorkshire-set drama is set to have its European premiere in Berlin’s Panorama section on Feb 14.

As reported by Screen, UK-based sales outfit Protagonist Pictures picked up the film in December 2016 and is representing world rights.

God’s Own Country stars former Screen Star of Tomorrow Josh O’Connor as a solitary young sheep farmer who numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex. The arrival of a Romanian migrant worker (played by newcomer Alec Secareanu) ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path.

Co-starring are Ian Hart (Urban Hymn) and Gemma Jones (Sense And Sensibility). The film is produced by Manon Ardisson and Jack Tarling for Magic Bear Productions and Shudder Films respectively, with Diarmid Scrimshaw (Tyrannosaur) and Anna Duffield (Donkeys) serving as executive producers for Inflammable Films.

The BFI and Creative England backed the project with National Lottery funds and Met Film Post and Paul Webster’s PW Pictures completed the financing.

Screen’s review called the film “a small production that is big in heart, honesty and raw talent.”

Protagonist also closed further deals on the title with Pyramide Films (France); Rialto (Australia/New Zealand); September Film (Benelux); and Non Stop (Scandinavia), as reported by Deadline.

Picturehouse Entertainment’s new dawn

The title marks the first acquisition for the re-jigged distribution wing of Picturehouse Cinemas, Picturehouse Entertainment, following today’s news that former MD Lyn Goleby had struck a deal for the company’s previous library and is set to launch a new outfit with Picturehouse’s Marc Allenby.

Clare Binns, director of programming and acquisition at Picturehouse, commented on the acquisition: “I am absolutely delighted to be releasing Francis Lee’s excellent first feature. This one really stood out for me at a competitive Sundance this year, signalling a new and exciting voice in British cinema. This is what Picturehouse Entertainment is all about, bold and independent features, and we look forward to building a suitably creative campaign to deliver this beautifully told love story to audiences up and down the country.”

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