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IFC Films Acquires SXSW Audience Award-Winning Doc ‘Bad Axe’

David Siev’s debut feature grapples with an Asian-American family’s fight with racism amid the COVID-19 pandemic

IFC Films has acquired the worldwide rights (excluding Nordics) to “Bad Axe,” a documentary from director David Siev that won the Audience Award for a documentary at this year’s SXSW.

Siev’s debut feature documentary follows an Asian-American Michigan family as they fought racism and abuse in order to keep their local restaurant alive and open amid the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and the backdrop of Trump-era political and racial tensions.

IFC Films is planning a release for “Bad Axe” later this year in both theaters and on VOD.

“Bad Axe” is produced by Jude Harris, Diane Quon, Katarina Vasquez and David Siev (“Bad Trip,” “Year Zero”). The film is executive Produced by Jeff Tremaine (“Jackass Forever”), Shanna Zablow Newton, Marci Wiseman, Daniel J. Chalfen, Dawn Bonder, Michael Meinhold and Tim Chow. 

In addition to picking up the Audience Award following its premiere at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, it also received Special Jury Recognition for Exceptional Intimacy in Storytelling in the Documentary Feature Competition. The festival jury noted, “Stories centered on the pursuit of the ‘American Dream’ abound. Rarely do they portray the sacrifices and recurrent trials that the promise of a better life entails the way director David Siev accomplishes. For its ability to reveal something unexpected about the American fabric and the American family, ‘Bad Axe’ deserves celebration.”

“David’s love letter to his hometown of ‘Bad Axe,’ is a powerful and humanistic portrayal of a family navigating life through an historic time. We’re thrilled to partner on this multi-layered documentary that is exactly the kind of independent cinema we are proud to foster. Many films speak about social justice and the American dream, but rarely are we granted such perspective and insight to those living through the personal sacrifice it sometimes takes to live in America. We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome David and his family to the IFC Films family,” Arianna Bocco, president of IFC Films, said in a statement.

“This is a deeply personal project and I’m grateful for IFC Films’ passion for my vision and the way that they have embraced my family and our story. IFC’s commitment to independent, director-driven films shines through in all of their acquisitions. I’m honored for ‘Bad Axe’ to join their extraordinary slate,” Siev said.

The deal for the film was negotiated by Adam Koehler, Manager of Acquisitions at IFC Films with Andrew Herwitz, President of The Film Sales Company on behalf of the filmmakers.

Variety first reported the news.

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