Cannes: Sundance Selects Acquires Ken Loach Drama ‘I, Daniel Blake’

Politically charged film from veteran British director won strong reviews after Thursday’s Cannes premiere

Sundance Selects has acquired U.S. rights to “I, Daniel Blake,” a low-key drama directed by veteran British filmmaker Ken Loach that premiered last week in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film deals with an elderly carpenter who fights the British welfare system after being incapacitated after a heart attack, and a young single mother who is also frustrated by a bureaucracy that offers little help to the lower classes.

“The strength of ‘I, Daniel Blake’ lies in its simplicity, in the details of hardscrabble existence … and particularly in the restrained, lived-in performances from [Dave] Johns and [Hayley] Squires,” wrote TheWrap after the film’s first screening on Thursday.

Loach’s other films include “Kes,” which helped make his reputation as a director of strong character-driven and politically-charged films about the working class in the late 1960s, and “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes a decade ago.

The deal was negotiated by Sundance Selects SVP of Aquistions and Productions Arianna Bocco on behalf of Sundance Selects, and Wild Bunch on behalf of the filmmakers.