A sophomore film we thought might be ready for the 2018 campaign will walk and chop into 2019 instead with a distributor already in place and a hyped up preem in the cards. Riley Stearns‘ The Art of Self Defense landed at Bleecker Street and while no release date has been stamped, we’re thinking this might be a return to Sundance for the filmmaker — he had his 2013 short The Cub preem there prior to launching into feature mode with 2015’s SXSW preemed feature debut Faults. Production took place in September of 2017 and sees 2009’s Solitary Man’s Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots tango joined by Alessandro Nivola. Steve Terada, Phillip Andre Botello, Jason Burkey, and Damsel filmmaker David Zellner are among the supporting cast.
Gist: Written by Riley Stearns, this centers on Casey (Jesse Eisenberg), who is attacked at random on the street and enlists in a local dojo led by a charismatic and mysterious Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), in an effort to learn how to defend himself. What he uncovers is a sinister world of fraternity, violence and hyper-masculinity and a woman (Imogen Poots) fighting for her place in it. Casey undertakes a journey, both frightening and darkly funny, that will place him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor.
Production Co./Producers: Andrew Kortschak, Walter Kortschak (Mediterranea), Cody Ryder (Cop Car), Stephanie Whonsetler.
Prediction: Bleecker Street could be looking to premiere their purchase at the fest – Midnight section or Premieres section are possible.
U.S. Distributor: Bleecker Street.