Cornerstone has closed sales on multiple territories, including North America and the U.K., for writer and director Daniel Kokotajlo’s “Starve Acre,” a brooding and atmospheric folk horror feature. “House of the Dragon’s” Matt Smith and “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” actor Morfydd Clark star in the film, which is produced by House Prods.
The deals were finalized following the film’s world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, where it screened in competition. Brainstorm Media has acquired distribution rights for North America and Cornerstone also closed a deal with BFI Distribution for the U.K. and Ireland. Additional deals include X Verleih (Germany and Switzerland), Blitz (Ex-Yugoslavia), Galapagos (Poland), Front Row (Middle East), Klockworx (Japan) and Terry Steiner (Airlines).
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“Starve Acre” is written and directed by Kokotajlo, based on the book by Andrew Michael Hurly, and with music by Matthew Herbert. It is produced by Tessa Ross, Juliette Howell, Derrin Shlesinger and Emma Duffy. The British film was developed with BBC Film and is funded by Access Entertainment together with BBC Film and the BFI. Kokotajlo won the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI for his feature film debut “Apostasy.”
The film is set in 1970s rural England. Richard and Juliette’s seemingly idyllic family life is thrown into turmoil when their son starts acting out of character. At Starve Acre, their remote family home, archaeologist Richard buries himself in exploring a folkloric myth that the ancient oak tree on their land is imbued with phenomenal powers. While Juliette turns to the local community to find some kind of peace, Richard obsessively digs deeper. An unexpected discovery soon occupies the couple’s attention and dark and sinister forces, unwittingly allowed into the home, offer a disturbing possibility of reconnection between them.
“We are very excited to bring this stellar addition to the folk horror canon to American audiences. ‘Starve Acre’ is masterfully made and unsettling in all the best ways,” Michelle Shwarzstein, CEO of Brainstorm Media, said.
“A magnificent tribute to the British folk horror tradition which has always been in BFI Distribution’s DNA, ‘Starve Acre’ is also a wonderfully original film. It will enthral a wide range of tastes in the U.K. and in Ireland — genre fans, cinephiles and beyond,” Laura Dos Santos, acquisitions manager, BFI Distribution, said.
Cornerstone will handle sales for the remaining territories at the upcoming American Film Market where they are also representing two Kiah Roache-Turner titles, “Beast of War” and “Sting,” as well as Mike Leigh’s untitled 2023 project, Polly Steele’s magical romance “Four Letters of Love,” starring Pierce Brosnan, Helena Bonham Carter and Gabriel Byrne, and Euros Lyn’s vampire black comedy “The Radleys,” starring Damian Lewis and Kelly Macdonald.
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