EXCLUSIVE: Pawel Pawlikowski’s well-received Telluride and Toronto drama gets US and Canadian deal.

Music Box Films has snapped up US and Canadian rights to Pawel Pawlikowski’s well-received Telluride and Toronto drama Ida in a deal between producer Eric Abraham and Music Box president William Schopf.

Newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska plays Anna opposite Polish star Agata Kulesza in the story of a young nun in 1960s Poland who discovers her Jewish roots and an aunt she never knew she had, who was once a notorious Stalinist judge. Together they go on the road to uncover the truth about her past.

Known for The Last Resort and BAFTA-award winning My Summer of Love, Ida marks the first Polish-language film for Warsaw-born British filmmaker Pawlikowski.

The film recently  won the International Critics’ Prize (FIPRESCI Prize) in Toronto as well as the top prize at Poland’s recent Gdynia Film Festival along with Best Actress for Agata Kulesza and Best Cinematography for Lukasz Zal and Pawlikowski regular Ryszard Lenczewski. 

Set in Poland, the drama, previously known as Sister of Mercy, is a co-production with Opus Film (Poland), Phoenix Film Investments (Denmark) and Fandango Portobello (UK).

Music Box plans a winter/spring North American festival campaign followed by a late second quarter 2014 theatrical release.

Ida is a beautifully directed, powerfully acted drama that seamlessly weaves two wonderfully realized characters with deeply resonant narrative and thematic motifs,” said Edward Arentz, managing director of Music Box.

“In short, Ida is a masterwork from Pawel Pawlikowski, and we look forward to sharing it with North American audiences.”

Upcoming Music Box feature and TV releases include Roger Michell’s Le Week-End, written by Hanif Kureishi and starring Jim Broadbent; the hit French mini-series The Returned, which will premiere on Sundance Channel; Jan Troell’s The Last Sentence; and Jan Ole Gerster’s German hit Oh Boy, which swept the German Oscars earlier this year.