NEW YORK, NY (June 16, 2020) — IFC Films announced today that it is acquiring North American rights to A CALL TO SPY, the solo directorial debut of Academy Award and Emmy Award nominated producer Lydia Dean Pilcher (Cutie and the Boxer, The Darjeeling Limited), from an original screenplay by Sarah Megan Thomas (producer, co-writer and star of the 2016 bank thriller Equity), who produced and also stars in the film. IFC Films plans to release the film in Fall 2020.
Thomas portrays real-life American spy Virginia Hall, alongside Stana Katic (Castle, Quantum of Solace, The Double) as British intelligence officer Vera Atkins, and Indian star Radhika Apte (Sacred Games, Padman, The Wedding Guest) making her American film debut as British spy Noor Inayat Khan. In addition to Thomas, Katic, and Apte, the cast includes Linus Roache (Homeland, Vikings, Batman Begins) as Colonel Maurice Buckmaster, Rossif Sutherland (Reign), Marc Rissmann (The Man in the High Castle, Game of Thrones) as Klaus Barbie, along with Samuel Roukin (Turn: Washington’s Spies), and Laila Robins (Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, The Blacklist). A CALL TO SPY made its world premiere at the 2019 Edinburgh International Film Festival and won awards at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Whistler Film Festival.
The film celebrates three unsung female heroes of WWII. As Great Britain’s forces were stretched thin during World War II, Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) began to enlist women as spies. Their daunting mission: conduct sabotage and build a resistance. Spymistress Vera Atkins, later the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond franchise, was the chief recruiter for this secret army.
Atkins selected two unusual candidates: Virginia Hall, an American journalist from Baltimore hampered by a wooden leg, and Noor Inayat Khan, a wireless officer of Indian descent and an avowed pacifist. Together, they worked to undermine the Nazi regime in France. The courage, sacrifices and grit of these three women helped quell the Nazi occupation – and ultimately turned the tide of the war.
The camaraderie depicted on screen is also reflected in the credits for A CALL TO SPY, where many women held key positions behind the camera from director, writer, producer, to costume designer, production designer and composer.
Arianna Bocco, EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films, said, “It’s rare to find a war movie with one complex female character – let alone three, as in A CALL TO SPY. Lydia Dean Pilcher and Sarah Megan Thomas have beautifully crafted the true story of real women who confronted hatred in World War II, and we’re thrilled to bring their film the attention it deserves.”
Director Lydia Dean Pilcher added, “These three women, driven by the stakes of humanity, had a choice to collaborate, do nothing, or resist. Their stories are more relevant today than ever. Happy to be working with IFC Films, a longtime champion of independent vision.”
Producer Sarah Megan Thomas added, “I am thrilled to be teaming up with IFC on this story about real female heroes. We look forward to sharing with the world a film that humanizes brave people from different countries who came together in a time of crisis — understanding we are all in this together.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films’ Director of Acquisitions Aijah Keith with Sarah Megan Thomas of SMT Pictures, LLC. 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) and digital platforms.
Upcoming releases include THE TRUTH directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu and Shannon Murphy’s BABYTEETH. 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 Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.