Screen Media has acquired the North American rights and the rights to some international territories for the film “Blackbird,” a drama starring Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year, the distributor announced Tuesday.
Mia Wasikowska, Sam Neill, Rainn Wilson and Bex Taylor-Klaus also co-star in the latest film from director Roger Michell, and Screen Media plans to release the film, which it acquired for distribution from Millennium Media, this September.
In “Blackbird,” Lily (Sarandon) has learned she has ALS, so she and her husband Paul (Neill), gather the family and loved ones together to discuss her options. But once together, opinions vary, especially those of Lily’s daughters, Jennifer (Winslet) and Anna (Wasikowska) and what was intended as a loving family gathering quickly shifts into a panoply of family dynamics.
“Blackbird” is directed by Michell, best known for films such as “My Cousin Rachel,” “Notting Hill” and the upcoming “The Duke” with Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent, and is written by Christian Torpe. “Blackbird” is produced by David Bernardi, Sherryl Clark and Robert Van Norden.
“I think all of us were surprised by how powerful this little film turned out. It punches far beyond its weight and in the final round delivers an astonishing and emotional knockout blow,” Michell said in a statement. “But along the way it’s much funnier than we all thought too. The ensemble is faultless, and the detail of their performances stops the story feeling maudlin or self-indulgent. I think we’re all really proud of it.”
“It should come as no surprise with a cast as renown as the one in ‘Blackbird,’ and under the direction of Roger Michell, that this film is incredibly engaging and moving but also with moments of humor as it examines the messiness of living,” Seth Needle, SVP of global acquisitions and co-productions at Screen Media, said in a statement.
“‘Blackbird’ is, without question, the most beautiful film that we have ever made,” Jeffrey Greenstein, president at Millennium Media, said in a statement. “Balancing the delicate material with grace and levity, Roger Michell takes the audience on a tough, yet touching journey brought to life by an incredibly talented group of actors. The film deserves to be seen by as wide an audience as possible – an endeavor we’re looking forward to championing alongside the enthusiastic team at Screen Media.”
Needle and Mike Messina, EVP of distribution at Screen Media, negotiated the deal with Greenstein and Jonathan Yunger, co-presidents at Millennium Media, on behalf of the filmmakers. Yunger and Greenstein continue to handle foreign sales.
Screen Media recently debuted their historical drama “Robert the Bruce” and John Turturro’s “The Jesus Rolls” and acquired Rod Lurie’s war film “The Outpost” based on Jake Tapper’s non-fiction book. The company is also in post-production on “Willy’s Wonderland” with Nicolas Cage.