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Acquisitions – Foreign Films

Live Free or Die; Roadside Attractions Land Dolan’s “Mommy”

In a deal that we can already claim as filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s most significant opening in the U.S yet, the folks at Roadside Attractions have acquired the rights to the filmmaker’s fifth film, Cannes-winning Mommy. While a Quebec release has been pegged for early September,we expect Roadside’s Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff to aim for a 2015 run with possible showings at Telluride and Sundance, and of course, this includes a Toronto Int. Film Festival exposure too – an announcement should be made in about two weeks time on that front.

Gist: In a fictional Canada, a new law allows distressed parents to abandon their troubled children to the hospital system. Diane “Die” Despres, a feisty widow, tries to cope with Steve, her wild yet charismatic ADHD son. While they both try to make ends meet, Kyla, a mysterious neighbour, offers her help. As Kyla’s heart-warming presence becomes increasingly intense, questions emerge about her own mysterious life, and the way her destiny may ultimately be linked to that of Steve and Die.

Worth Noting: While his first three films received accolades galore and had U.S. distribution deals of their own (some fell through before a release even occurred), Dolan’s prior feature (and best film yet according to this critic) Tom at the Farm has yet to receive a distribution deal.

Do We Care?: Aside from the strong perfs and ballsy creative output, we’re glad to see a studio latch onto a film that incorporates subtitles, an aspect ratio (see trailer below) that is rare for a theatrical release and Celine Dion. We’re looking forward to our second revisit with the Cannes sensation.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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