Magnolia Picks Up Icelandic-Language Movie ‘Under the Tree’

TIFF 2017: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson’s warring neighbors comedy premiered at Venice

Magnolia has acquired North American rights to Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson’s “Under the Tree.”

The comedy follows two neighboring families as tensions mount between them in a tranquil suburb. A giant tree, which casts a looming shadow on one of the neighbors’ properties, is at the center of it. “Under the Tree” stars Steinthor Hroar Steinthorsson, Edda Bjorgvinsdottir, Sigurdur Sigurjonsson, Thorsteinn Bachmann, Selma Bjornsdottir and Lara Johanna Jonsdottir.

The Icelandic-language film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Contemporary World Cinema section. Magnolia is planning an early 2018 release.

Sigurdsson’s previous projects include “Paris of the North” and “Either Way,” which had a U.S. remake as “Prince Avalanche.”

“Under the Tree” was written by Sigurdsson and Huldar Breidfjörd and produced by Grimar Jonsson. It was co-produced by a group including Iceland’s Netop Films, Poland’s Madants, Denmark’s Profile Pictures, and Germany’s One Two Films, and got additional support from the Icelandic Film Center, Danish Film Institute, Polish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, EURIMAGES and ZDF/Arte.

Magnolia senior vice president of acquisitions John Von Thaden negotiated the deal with Jan Naszewski of New Europe Film Sales and Peter Van Steemburg of ICM representing the filmmakers. Financial terms were not disclosed.