Don’t Count Weir’s ‘Way Back’ Out of Awards Contention Yet

Newmarket Films will release the Colin Farrell-Ed Harris survival drama on Jan. 21 in the U.S.

Exclusive Media Group's subsidiary Newmarket Films will release Peter Weir's drama "The Way Back" on Jan. 21, 2011 in the U.S., the company announced on Thursday.

However, that doesn't mean that the survival drama is necessarily out of awards contention this year, as an individual familiar with the situation has told TheWrap that Exclusive and Newmarket execs are "still considering" the possibility of a limited release or one-week qualifying run before the end of the year.

Inspired by Slavomir Rawicz's acclaimed novel "The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom," as well as by other real life accounts, the film chronicles the escape of a small group of multi-national prisoners from a Siberian gulag in 1940 and their epic journey over thousands of miles across five hostile countries.

Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Mark Strong and Saoirse Ronan star in the movie, which boasts four producers and no less than 11 executive producers, including Scott Rudin.

Some awards pundits in the blogosphere have expressed surprise that Weir's latest has had trouble finding a domestic distributor, especially with such a well-known cast, but the extended search only serves to illustrate the numerous difficulties that independent productions face in today's roughshod economy.

A co-production between National Geographic Entertainment and Imagenation Abu Dhab, "The Way Back" will have its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, where Weir will be honored with a tribute.