Icon Film Distribution CEO Ian Dawson talks about the relaunched company’s strategy to fill a gap in the UK market.

A Most Violent Year

 Following the Cannes Market, the relaunched Icon Film Distribution has announced three further titles it has acquired.

They are:

  • A Most Violent Year [pictured], written and directed by JC Chandor and starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. The thriller, set in 1981 New York, follows an immigrant and his family struggling in the violent city. FilmNation handles international sales and the film is in post.

  • Equals, directed by Drake Doremus and starring Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart. This futuristic romance, which counts Ridley Scott as one of its producers, is set in a utopian future. Mister Smith handles sales.

  • The Legend of Barney Thomson, marking the feature directorial debut of Robert Carlyle, who also stars alongside Ray Winstone and Emma Thompson. The film is about a Glaswegian barber who inadvertently becomes a serial killer. Myriad Pictures handles sales.

This adds to the company’s previously reported acquisition of David Robert Mitchell’s buzzy Directors Fortnight title It Follows from Visit Films.

“All of these projects are distinctive and they all have strong creative elements,” Icon CEO Ian Dawson told Screen earlier this week. “These are great directors working with great cast on great projects…We want to work with filmmakers and collaborate with them.”

The company is set to announce further acquisitions in coming weeks.

The UK distributor re-launched in September 2013 with backing from Dr Jerome Booth’s New Sparta.

It currently has family animation Postman Pat: The Movie on release in the UK (in an output deal with Lionsgate), which has made more than £2.4m in its first 10 days of release.

Icon’s next theatrical launch (and its first solo as a relaunched company) will be Jim Mickle’s Cold In July, a Texas-set thriller starring Michael C Hall and Don Johnson, on June 27. Adam Wingard’s The Guest, starring Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe, will launch on Sept 5.

CEO Ian Dawson told ScreenDaily this week that the company was faring well as it re-enters a competitive UK distribution market.

He said: “We saw a gap for a quality team of people to work on 12 films a year…it feels like a good size to be able to do a good job.”

Of the changing market in recent years, he added: “Some of the previous independent distributors are now part of multi-territory bigger companies, so we that becomes a less focused, more international business. We can be a bit faster on our feet to take advantage of the gap we see in the market.”

The company has 17 employees as of the end of June; that’s up from five when the former Icon was running its bare-bones operation.

“This team is fired up and passionate about the industry and excited to work with these films and filmmakers,” Dawson added.