NEW YORK, NY (MAY 12, 2020) – IFC Midnight is acquiring North American rights to retro Tinder nightmare RENT-A-PAL written and directed by Jon Stevenson, starring Brian Landis Folkins (Hoax), Wil Wheaton (Stand By Me, Star Trek – The Next Generation), Kathleen Brady (Breaking Bad), and Amy Rutledge (Neighbor). Inspired by real-life VHS tape ‘RENT-A-FRIEND: THE ORIGINAL VIDEO COMPANION’, a response to loneliness in the analog era. RENT-A-PAL was produced by Annie Elizabeth Baker, Jimmy Weber, Jon Stevenson of Pretty People Pictures, alongside J.D. Lifshitz and Raphael Margules of BoulderLight Pictures. IFC Midnight will release the film in September 2020.
Set in 1990, a lonely bachelor named David (Brian Landis Folkins) searches for an escape from the day-to-day drudgery of caring for his aging mother (Kathleen Brady). While seeking a partner through a video dating service, he discovers a strange VHS tape called Rent-A-Pal. Hosted by the charming and charismatic Andy (Wil Wheaton), the tape offers him much-needed company, compassion, and friendship. But, Andy’s friendship comes at a cost, and David desperately struggles to afford the price of admission.
Director Jon Stevenson said, “It’s an honor to have my directorial debut released on IFC Midnight. Their history of high-quality genre entertainment has directly inspired my work. To now be a part of their rich film library is surreal. I look forward to working with their team in releasing Rent-A-Pal. This movie is near and dear to my heart and I’m truly excited for the world to see it. And for the world to see a very different side of Wil Wheaton.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films Arianna Bocco and Acquisitions Coordinator Adam Koehler with BoulderLight Pictures on behalf of the filmmakers.
ABOUT IFC MIDNIGHT
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.
Upcoming releases include Natalie Erika James’ Sundance hit RELIC and Egor Abramenko’s SPUTNIK. Some of the company’s successes have included Andy Nyman’s critical darling GHOST STORIES, André Øvredal’s box-office success THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, Peter Strickland’s modern giallo BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO, Duncan Skiles’ THE CLOVEHITCH KILLER, Lucile Hadžihalilović’s EVOLUTION, Johnnie To’s Hong Kong revenge thriller VENGEANCE, Sean Byrne’s THE DEVIL’S CANDY, John McNaughton’s THE HARVEST, and the award-winning and cultural phenomenon THE BABADOOK. IFC Midnight is a sister label to IFC Films, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.
ABOUT PRETTY PEOPLE PICTURES
Pretty People Pictures is a genre film production company based in Denver, Colorado. Founded in 2007 by Jimmy Weber and Annie Elizabeth Baker while the two were still in film school, the company broke onto the independent film scene with the short film Incubator in 2011. The six-minute short film had a crazy festival run, screening at 50 international film festivals and winning 13 awards. It played at Fantastic Fest, Fantasia, and ScreamFest and received rave reviews from major outlets like Rue Morgue Magazine.
In 2014, Pretty People Pictures released Eat, an intense but intimate body horror gorefest. It premiered at the Denver Film Festival and screened at Sitges Film Festival. The film won “Best Feature Film” at both the Atlanta Horror Film Festival and Sacramento Horror Film Festival. Eat is now available in the U.S. on iTunes, Amazon, and other VOD platforms from 1091 Media. Ryan Turek, Director of Development at Blumhouse Productions, who discovered Eat said, “I’ve seen so many horror films, it’s hard to find one that gets me to squirm in my seat, but Jimmy succeeded with EAT. He has served up a clever, entertaining, and extreme tale that really goes for the throat.”
In the Fall of 2018, Jon Stevenson (director of photography for INCUBATOR and EAT) officially joined Pretty People Pictures. Shortly after, the three began production on his feature film directorial debut, Rent-A-Pal. The retro thriller starring Brian Landis Folkins (Hoax) and Wil Wheaton (Stand By Me, Star Trek – The Next Generation), and Kathleen Brady (Breaking Bad), recently wrapped production and is set for a Fall 2020 release.
ABOUT BOULDERLIGHT PICTURES
Originally from New York, J.D. Lifshitz and Raphael Margules have been interested in film since before they first met in Hebrew School. Shortly after moving to LA in 2012, they launched BoulderLight Pictures. Their first film, the STD horror Contracted, was a major VOD hit for IFC Films, garnering a limited theatrical release, before going on to be the most streamed film on Netflix. A sequel, Contracted: Phase II was pre-sold to IFC Midnight and was released in Fall 2015.
Since then, BoulderLight has produced Uncaged, a new take on the werewolf mythology (released by RLJ/Image Entertainment), and Dementia, an innovative horror/thriller with a notable genre cast, which was picked up by IFC Midnight, and released in Winter 2015. Upon its release, Dementia was met with critical acclaim and went on to garner a New York Times Critic’s Pick.
At the 2014 Cannes Marche du Film, BoulderLight launched its international sales arm with a strong focus on bringing exciting and fresh genre content to foreign markets. Since then, they have garnered relationships with some of the biggest independent distributors around the world.
In 2015, BoulderLight entered into a 3-picture slate financing deal with Making Film Productions LTD., one of Hong Kong’s most prominent entertainment companies. The slate focuses on projects budgeted in the low-seven figure range. The first film, Dismissed, starring Dylan Sprouse, was released by The Orchard in November 2017. Browse, the second film in the slate, is currently in post production.
In 2016, BoulderLight partnered with MM2 Entertainment, Singapore’s leading film company, to produce its first US co-production the Tinder-thriller Bad Match. The film was released by Orion Pictures in November 2017.
BoulderLight has multiple projects in development and pre-production. The company continues to seek inspired and imaginative storytellers from around the world in order to create innovative content for an evolving audience. As both an independent production company and worldwide sales agency, BoulderLight is uniquely positioned to discover such talent and bring these stories to the screen.