‘Overnighters’ Documentary Acquired by Drafthouse, Oscar Push Planned

'Overnighters' Documentary Acquired by Drafthouse, Oscar Push Planned

Acclaimed film looks at North Dakota's oil boom

“The Overnighters,” an acclaimed documentary about the North Dakota oil fields, has been acquired by Drafthouse Films.

Directed by Jesse Moss, “Overnighters” offers a look at the men and women who have flocked to the state, desperate for work and suffering from the aftershocks of the American recession.

Drafthouse has Oscar ambitions for the documentary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where it snagged a “Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking.”

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“I have shown the film to a small group of friends and family,” Drafthouse founder Tim League said in a statement. “After each screening, a lengthy and heated discussion has arisen on the themes of the American dream, forgiveness, what it means to be a good person.  We hope to take this spectacularly thought-provoking documentary all the way to the Oscars in 2015.”

Critics agreed with his assessment, with Twitch's Jason Gorber writing, “‘The Overnighters’ is a shattering experience; a masterwork of unbridled honesty as it delves into the messy ambivalence of regular lives. Easily one of this year's best documentaries, it is both provocative and unsettling, energizing and immensely sorrowful.”

Drafthouse is the film distribution arm of the off-beat theater chain, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The company gets North American theatrical, home video, transactional and other rights to the critically-heralded picture. A portion of all box office receipts will be donated to local affordable housing charities.

“The Overnighters” will screen at the Tribeca Film Festival. A theatrical release is planned for late 2014.

The deal was negotiated by James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Andrew Herwitz at Film Sales and Creative Artists Agency on behalf of the producers.