NEW YORK, NY (March 20, 2019) – IFC Films announced today that it is acquiring U.S. rights to MARY MAGDALENE, the bold second feature film from Australian filmmaker Garth Davis (2016’s worldwide sensation LION), starring acclaimed actors Rooney Mara (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS, CAROL), Joaquin Phoenix (WALK THE LINE, HER, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE), and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 YEARS A SLAVE, KINKY BOOTS, DOCTOR STRANGE). MARY MAGDALENE was produced by See-Saw Films and Porchlight Films and had its world premiere at the National Gallery in London in 2018 and IFC Films will release the film theatrically on April 12, 2019.
Depicting the life of perhaps the most trusted confidant of Jesus Christ, the film was written by Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett, and produced by Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, and Liz Watts, with cinematography by Greig Fraser (ZERO DARK THIRTY, LION, ROGUE ONE) and music by Hildur Guðnadóttir and Jóhann Jóhannsson (beloved composer of films such as THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, SICARIO and ARRIVAL).
MARY MAGDALENE tells the moving story of one of the most misunderstood women in history, alternately vilified as a sinner and canonized as a saint. In the First Century A.D., the free-spirited Mary (Mara) flees the marriage her family has arranged for her, finding a sense of purpose in a radical new movement led by the charismatic, defiant preacher Jesus of Nazareth (Phoenix). The sole woman among his band of disciples, Mary defies the prejudices of her patriarchal society. She undergoes a profound spiritual awakening, becomes drawn her into conflict with Jesus’s apostles Peter (Ejiofor) and Judas (Tahar Rahim, star of Jacques Audiard’s A PROPHET), and finds herself at the center of an earth-shaking historical moment. MARY MAGDALENE is a rapturous, moving account of a miraculous woman who risked everything to follow her faith.
Arianna Bocco EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films said, “The film daringly challenges conventional wisdom while telling a remarkable story with nuance, grace, and respect. Garth Davis is an incredible talent, and we’re thrilled to be working with him and See-Saw Films to bring this film to audiences throughout the country.”
Lisa Schwartz, Co-President of IFC Films added, “Garth Davis’ film offers a refreshing take on the story of Mary Magdalene, emphasizing the significance of her role which has long been minimized throughout biblical history. We are pleased to be a part of sharing her story from a fresh perspective and believe the timing could not be better.”
Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films added “We are very excited that IFC will be bringing Mary Magdalene to audiences across the US. This amazing story is so beautifully directed by Garth. We look forward to seeing the film connect with US audiences in the way that LION captured peoples imagination in 2017.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, EVP of Acquisitions and Productions at IFC Films/Sundance Selects/IFC Midnight and UTA on behalf of the filmmakers.
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) platform, reaching nearly 50 million homes.
Some of the company’s successes over the years have included BOYHOOD, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, 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, Gregg Araki, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, Abdellatif Kechiche, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Abbas Kiarostami, and many more. IFC Films is a sister label to Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.
ABOUT SEE-SAW FILMS
Academy Award® winning producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman founded See-Saw Films in 2008. See-Saw is a UK, Australian and US company specializing in international film and television production.
See-Saw produced six-time Academy Award® nominated and two-time BAFTA winning Lion, starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, and in 2011 won the Academy Award® for Best Motion Picture for The King’s Speech which swept up an additional three awards, from twelve nominations, as well as picking up seven BAFTAs, from fourteen nominations.
Recent film projects include Academy Award® winner Steve McQueen’s Widows, starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry, Robert Duvall and Liam Neeson which was released by Twentieth Century Fox in 2018.
See-Saw’s upcoming film projects include Chris Morris’ The Day Shall Come, starring Marchánt Davis, Anna Kendrick and Danielle Brooks which will premiere at SXSW in March and Francis Lee’s Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, which starts shooting in March, 2019.
See-Saw’s television division formally started in 2012 and kicked off with the multi-award winning first season of Jane Campion’s ‘Top of the Lake’. Campion returned with ‘Top of The Lake: China Girl’ starring Elisabeth Moss, Nicole Kidman and Gwendoline Christie which premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Globe.
‘The North Water’ written and to be directed by Andrew Haigh (45 Years), adapted from the novel by Ian McGuire, will shoot in 2019 for BBC Two. The company’s short form comedy series ‘State of the Union’ directed by Stephen Frears, written by Nick Hornby and starring Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd will premiere at Sundance 2019; ‘The End’ starring Harriet Walter and Frances O’Connor, written by Sam Strauss and directed by Jessica M Thompson and Jonathan Brough is currently in production. Previous productions include ‘The New Legends of Monkey’, See-Saw’s live action television series for Netflix, ABC Australia and TVNZ.