Fox Searchlight takes rights from Omega Entertainment to the real-life drama Betty Anne Waters

Fox Searchlight has picked up North American and select territory rights from Omega Entertainment to the real-life drama Betty Anne Waters starring Hilary Swank.

The company also licensed rights to the UK, Australia and New Zealand, French-speaking territories, South Africa, and Japan on the film, which was originally set to premiere at Sundance and will now debut in autumn.

Tony Goldwyn directed from Pamela Gray’s screenplay about a high school dropout who spent nearly two decades working as a single mother while putting herself through law school to overturn her brother’s unjust murder conviction.

Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver, Juliette Lewis and Peter Gallagher round out the key cast. Andrew Sugerman, Andrew S Karsch and Goldwyn produced.

“Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell, backed by an extraordinary supporting cast, deliver powerhouse performances in Tony Goldwyn’s emotionally resonant film,” Searchlight presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula said.  “We are excited to be distributing this inspirational story of hope and unconditional love.”

Searchlight’s executive vice-president of worldwide acquisitions Tony Safford and vice-president of business affairs Megan O’Brien negotiated the deal with Markus Barmettler of Barmettler Entertainment Law on behalf of Omega Entertainment and CAA on behalf of the film-makers.

CAA also assisted in the financing on the film.