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Acquisitions – Indie Films

IFC Films Not Shy About Liza Johnson’s “Hateship Loveship”

It’s panning out to be a significantly different type of experience with regards to filmmaker Liza Johnson’s sophomore film. After stumbling out with her debut Return, a painfully difficult indie film that premiered in Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight) and whimpered into theaters, the helmer quickly got behind the camera with a plethora of talent for Hateship Loveship, which managed to charm the IFC Films’ Arianna Bocco during TIFF – landing a theatrical distribution deal which will probably set the dramedy for a 2014 showing.

Gist: Based on a short story by Alice Munro with a screenplay by Mark Poirier, Kristen Wiig stars as Johanna Parry, a profoundly shy, unadorned woman who is hired by Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte) as a housekeeper and a primary caregiver to his granddaughter Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld). When Sabitha uses technology to foster a pseudo-relationship between her widowed father and new caretaker, Johanna is finally able to indulge in something long missing from her life: the dream of a future and a home of her own.

Worth Noting: Munro’s material has attracted the likes of Sarah Polley (Away from Her) and Jane Campion (upcoming Runaway).

Do We Care?: Despite not being sold on Return, with a Kristen Wiig and Guy Pearce pairing, Johnson’s second feature was on our radar for TIFF (unfortunately but we did not have the chance to review it). It’ll definitely be an item of interest in the mid-range U.S. indie film offerings for next year.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury 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 was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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