New York, NY (September 8, 2022) – IFC Films announced today it is acquiring all U.S. rights to BlackBerry, directed by Matt Johnson (The Dirties, Operation Avalanche). The film tells the story of the meteoric rise and catastrophic demise of the world’s first smartphone, and stars an ensemble cast including Jay Baruchel (This Is The End, Knocked Up), Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, A.P. Bio), Cary Elwes (Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Saw), Saul Rubinek (Hunters, True Romance), Rich Sommer (The Devil Wears Prada, Mad Men), Martin Donovan (Tenet, Big Little Lies), Michael Ironside (Total Recall, Scanners) and Matt Johnson (The Dirties, Operation Avalanche). IFC Films will release the film in 2023.
The film is produced by Niv Fichman (Enemy, The Red Violin), Matthew Miller (The Dirties, Operation Avalanche), Fraser Ash (Possessor, Closet Monster) and Kevin Krikst (Possessor, Closet Monster). BlackBerry is a Rhombus Media and Zapruder Films production, with the participation of Telefilm Canada and Ontario Creates, in association with CBC Films, IPR.VC; and XYZ Films, who are also executive producing.
Johnson and Miller adapted the screenplay from the #1 National Bestseller “Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry” written by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff.
Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films said, “Years before the iPhone hit the market, there was a piece of technology that was so ubiquitous that even Obama couldn’t live without it. BlackBerry will give audiences front row seats to the launch of a new age through the eyes of the rowdy tech pioneers that started it all. We’re thrilled to get on this wild ride with Matt Johnson and give the story of the first smartphone the platform it deserves.”
“The origin of IFC Films is a dead-ringer match for the wild-west beginnings of the first smartphone. Both exploded from 90s outsider culture with designs on changing the world. It’s a perfect home for BlackBerry and I can’t wait for them to present this insane story to the world.” said director Matt Johnson.
The deal for domestic rights was brokered by Nate Bolotin and Pip Ngo for XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers and by SVP of Acquisitions and Productions, Scott Shooman on behalf of IFC Films. XYZ Films, co-financed the film and will handle international rights at TIFF. Elevation Pictures will distribute the film in Canada.
About IFC Films
Established in 2000 and based in New York City, IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of independent film. Its unique distribution model makes independent films available to a national audience by releasing them in theaters as well as on cable’s Video On Demand (VOD) and digital platforms.
Upcoming releases include Julian Higgins’ GOD’S COUNTRY and the Cannes Un Certain Regard award-winner, CORSAGE, directed by Marie Kreutzer and starring Vicky Krieps (BERGMAN ISLAND, PHANTOM THREAD). Some of the company’s successes over the years have included BOYHOOD, THE DEATH OF STALIN, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, THE BABADOOK, TOUCHING THE VOID, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, CHE, SUMMER HOURS, ANTICHRIST, IN THE LOOP, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, TINY FURNITURE, and CARLOS. IFC Films has worked with established and breakout filmmakers, including Steven Soderbergh, Gus Van Sant, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Miranda July, Lars Von Trier, Gaspar Noé, Todd Solondz, Cristian Mungiu, Susanne Bier, Olivier Assayas, Jim McKay, Larry Fessenden, Paul Dano, Gregg Araki, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, Abdellatif Kechiche, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Abbas Kiarostami, Alfonso Cuaron, Noah Baumbach, Lena Dunham, Ethan Hawke and many more. IFC Films is a sister label to IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.
About XYZ Films
XYZ Films is an independent studio whose mission is to empower visionary storytellers from every corner of the planet. XYZ was founded in 2008 by Nate Bolotin, Nick Spicer and Aram Tertzakian and has expanded in recent years into documentary, talent management, and distribution. Some of the company’s classic titles include THE RAID franchise, 2017 Sundance winner I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE, and Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic revenge thriller MANDY. XYZ’s current projects include THE BLACK KAISER with Mads Mikkelsen, HOUNDS OF WAR starring Frank Grillo, Robert Patrick and Rhona Mitra, and the Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead film SOMETHING IN THE DIRT which premiered at Sundance 2022. Its current slate also includes Nic Cassavetes’ GOD IS A BULLET starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maika Monroe and Jamie Foxx, NOCEBO directed by Lorcan Finnegan with Eva Green and Mark Strong, and ACCUSED from BAFTA-nominated BOILING POINT director Phillip Barantini. XYZ is in post-production on the Netflix Original HAVOC, directed by Gareth Evans and starring Tom Hardy and Forrest Whitaker.
About Elevation Pictures
Founded in 2013 with finance partner Teddy Schwarzman of Black Bear Pictures, Elevation Pictures has become one of Canada’s leading entertainment companies specializing in distribution and production. Elevation is known for releasing award-winning films such as The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch; Room starring Brie Larson; The Father starring Anthony Hopkins; and Best Picture winner, Moonlight. Their production highlights include The Nest, starring Jude Law and Carrie Coon; French Exit, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, and Lucas Hedges; Alice, Darling starring Anna Kendrick and Wunmi Mosaku. For more information, please visit elevationpictures.com.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. As Canada’s trusted news source, we offer a uniquely Canadian perspective on news, current affairs and world affairs. Our distinctively homegrown entertainment programming draws audiences from across the country. Deeply rooted in communities, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also deliver content in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Punjabi and Tagalog, as well as both official languages, through Radio Canada International (RCI). We are leading the transformation to meet the needs of Canadians in a digital world.