IFC Films

Sundance Selects Takes U.S. Rights to Joshua Marston’s Berlin Winner The Forgiveness of Blood

New York, NY (April 6, 2011) – Sundance Selects announced today that the company is acquiring all U.S. rights to acclaimed director Joshua Marston’s (MARIA FULL OF GRACE) THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD, which won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival. Marston also wrote the screenplay for the film alongside Andamion Murataj. Paul Mezey produced the project, which stars Tristan Halilaj, Sindi Lacej and Refet Abazi. Janine Gold, Eric Abraham, Domenico Procacci, Hunter Gray and Tyler Brodie executive produced the picture. THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD is a Fandango Portobello presentation in association with Artists Public Domain and Cinereach, and Lissus Media of a Journeyman Pictures production.

Sundance Selects sister label, IFC Films, previously collaborated with Fandango Portobello on the release of their award-winning production GOMORRAH which was presented by Martin Scorsese and directed by Matteo Garrone. IFC Films also worked with Paul Mezey on the production and release of films such as Jim McKay’s ’OUR SONG and Tom Gilroy’s SPRING FORWARD.

The film follows Nik, an energetic 17-year-old in his last year of high school in Northern Albania. Embarking on his first romance with a girl in his class, he plans to open his own internet cafe after graduation. His sister, Rudina, is a bright, mature fifteen-year-old who aspires to go to college. When a local land dispute results in their father Mark being accused of murder, the family is drawn into a deadly blood feud. The rules of the Kanun, a centuries-old Albanian code of law, force Nik, his 7 year old brother and the other male members of his family into virtual house arrest. With Mark hiding in the mountains and Nik unable to leave the house, the family must rely on Rudina, who has to leave school and take over Mark’s business in order to provide for them. While Rudina flourishes in her newfound responsibility, Nik’s frustration and anger at his isolation drive him to try to end the feud, even though it may cost him his life.

Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects, said: "THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD is an absolutely riveting and flawlessly directed film. Joshua Marston is the perfect addition to our growing slate of filmmaker driven work for our Sundance Selects label which includes films by Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Wim Wenders, Abbas Kiarostami and Bertrand Tavernier. We look forward to working with him and are happy to continue our relationship with Janine Gold and Paul Mezey."

Director Marston said: "I am extremely pleased to have Sundance Selects releasing the film. They bring a real passion for the movie along with a very smart plan for distribution. This is a very moving and human film that looks into a world that hasn’t been seen on screen before, and Sundance Selects understands that."

The deal for THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects with Janine Gold of Fandango Portobello on behalf of the filmmakers.

Sundance Selects is a sister division to IFC Films and IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by Rainbow Media.


Established in 2009 and based in New York City, Sundance Selects is a leading U.S. distributor of prestige films focusing on American independents, documentaries and world cinema. Its unique distribution model makes independent prestige 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 include Spike Lee’s PASSING STRANGE: THE MOVIE, Gregg Araki’s KABOOM, Aaron Katz’s COLD WEATHER and famed Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami’s CERTIFIED COPY which won Juliette Binoche the prize for Best Actress at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Upcoming Sundance Selects releases include master director Errol Morris’ documentary TABLOID, Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, and the 2011 Sundance Audience Award winner BUCK, directed by Cindy Meehl. Sundance Selects is a sister division to IFC Films and IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by Rainbow Media.

Press Contacts

  • Michael Kupferberg