Source: Venice Film Festival


Interest is swirling in Toronto around two major acquisition titles that have already premiered on the fall festival circuit as buyers circle Ava DuVernay’s Origin and Christy Hall’s feature debut Daddio.

Neon is shopping Origin to international buyers after swooping on worldwide rights shortly before Wednesday’s (September 6) Venice world premiere sparked an eight-minute standing ovation.

Hoping to parlay Lido acclaim into what sources said could become an early deal with a studio or streamer, Neon’s freshly minted head of sales Kristen Figeroid is engaging with buyers at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Neon plans a nationwide theatrical release for Origin later this year. The drama about the life and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson stars Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor and Jon Bernthal and screens for press and industry at TIFF on September 10, one day before the North American premiere at Roy Thomson Hall with DuVernay scheduled to attend.

The cast includes Niecy Nash-Betts, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Nick Offerman, Blair Underwood, Finn Wittrock, Jasmine Cephas-Jones and Connie Nielsen.

Figeroid was brought on to lead ambitious Neon’s push into sales as president of international sales and distribution shortly before TIFF. She most recently held the role of Sierra/Affinity managing director and EVP of sales & distribution.

Meanwhile studio buyers were out in force at a buyers’ screening on Thursday of Daddio, Hall’s two-hander starring Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn as a passenger and cab driver who strike up a profound conversation.

The drama from Hall (the co-creator of Netflix show I Am Not Okay With This) earned positive reviews following the world premiere in the Colorado Rockies and gets its international premiere on September 10 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. A P&I screening is set for September 11 at Scotiabank.

CAA Media Finance and WME Independent jointly represent US rights and the latter handles international sales.