By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

IFC FILMS TAKES NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS TO DIRECTOR PAUL SCHRADER’S THE CANYONS

Bret Easton Ellis-Penned Film Starring Lindsay Lohan and James Deen To Have Early Summer Day-and-Date Release 

Film to Have Special Presentation at Film Society of Lincoln Center in Conjunction with a Conversation with Kent Jones, Director of Programming of the New York Film Festival

New York, New York (February 15, 2013) – IFC Films announced today that the company is acquiring North American rights to director Paul Schrader’s neo-noir thriller THE CANYONS. The modern-day Los Angeles-set film, with an original screenplay by Bret Easton Ellis, stars Lindsay Lohan and adult film star James Deen. Producer Braxton Pope led the DIY film’s extensive new media strategies which included crowdfunding and online casting.  THE CANYONS has been described by Schrader as “cinema for the post-theatrical era.”

The film will premiere day-and-date and on digital platforms in early summer in conjunction with a Special Presentation at the  Film Society of Lincoln Center where The Canyons will be screened and followed by a conversation with Schrader and Kent Jones, Director of Programming of the New York Film Festival. Schrader presented a Master Class on crowdsourcing and DIY production at last year’s New York Film Festival and will return to expand upon the process of making the film in a post-screening discussion.

Notes Kent Jones, Director of Programming, New York Film Festival:  ”On one level, The Canyons is a visually and tonally precise, acid-etched horror story of souls wandering through a hyper-materialistic hell, with a fearless and, I think, stunning performance by Lindsay Lohan at its center; on another level, it’s an inspiration and an example to us all: it’s difficult for me to imagine another filmmaker of Paul Schrader’s stature diving into the world of crowd-sourced moviemaking, let alone with such fervor, dedication and rigor.”

THE CANYONS, a post-modern story about power and the dark side of Hollywood, centers around a scheming and very wealthy movie producer Christian (Deen) who makes movies to satisfy his father’s demands that he maintain a viable career. Lohan stars as Tara, his girlfriend who’s hiding an affair with an actor from her past.  Christian becomes more and more demanding, inviting various sex partners to join him and Tara in his luxurious Malibu Canyon lair. Village Voice lead critic Scott Foundas, recently praised the film saying:  ”You could almost describe it as a cross between Easton Ellis’s AMERICAN PSYCHO and Schrader’s AMERICAN GIGOLO. These are minor characters on the fringe of the Hollywood scene, all equally desperate and engaging in various forms of psychological and sexual manipulation.”

Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “This film is a wild ride through the psyche of Bret Easton Ellis courtesy of Paul Schrader. Lindsay Lohan is terrific as Tara and James Deen will be a big surprise for people.  We are thrilled that the filmmakers’ adventure in filmmaking 2.0 has brought them to our door.”

Schrader notes: “I am delighted our film has found an enthusiastic home at IFC. We envisioned The Canyons as a multi-platform release from the beginning and no company knows that world better than IFC.”

Bret Easton Ellis adds: “The fact that I started writing THE CANYONS a year ago and that we’re now–barely twelve months later–about to be distributed by IFC is a testament to both Braxton Pope and Paul Schrader and the rest of THE CANYONS team. The DIY ethos behind the movie dovetails perfectly with IFC’s commitment to release the film this summer. Finally the movie will be able to be seen and viewers can judge for themselves rather than relying on the undeservedly snarky press THE CANYONS has received so far. This distribution model is the future for a certain kind of adult drama that is now officially non-existent within the old-school studio system. THE CANYONS, regardless of what you think of it, is an example of the next step in what will now be the future of post-theatrical feature-length content.”

The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films with Alexis Garcia at WME Global on behalf of the filmmakers.

IFC Films is a sister label to IFC Midnight and Sundance Selects, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.

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About IFC FILMS

Established in 2000 and based in New York City, IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of quality talent-driven independent film.  Its unique distribution modelmakes 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. Some of the company’s successes over the years have included MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, TOUCHING THE VOID, 4 MONTHS, 3WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, GOMORRAH, CHE, SUMMER HOURS, ANTICHRIST, IN THE LOOP, ANTICHRIST, WORDPLAY, CAIRO TIME, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, TINY FURNITURE, YOUR SISTER’S SISTER and CARLOS.  Over the years, IFC Films has worked with established and breakout auteurs, including Steven Soderbergh, Gus Van Sant, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Miranda July, Lars Von Trier, Gaspar Noe, Todd Solondz, CristianMungiu, Susanne Bier, Olivier Assayas, Jim McKay, Larry Fessenden, Gregg Araki, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, as well as more recent breakouts such as Andrea Arnold, Mia Hansen Love, Corneliu Porombiou, Joe Swanberg, Barry Jenkins, Lena Dunham, Aaron Katz, Daryl Wein and Abdellatif Kechiche. Upcoming releases include Noah Baumbach’s FRANCES HA starring Greta Gerwig, Mira Nair’s THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST starring Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber and Ben Wheatley’s SIGHSTEERS.  IFC Films is a sister label to Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.

FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER

Founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, the Film Society of Lincoln Center works to recognize and support new directors, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility and understanding of film. Among its yearly programming of film festivals, film series and special events, the Film Society presents two film festivals in particular that annually attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, which just celebrated its 50th edition, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award—now named “The Chaplin Award”—to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Sidney Poitier. FSLC presents its year-round calendar of programming, panels, lectures, educational and transmedia programs and specialty film releases at the famous Walter Reade Theater and the new state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.

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DEADLINE: How does a visualist feel about people watching your films on a phone or VOD?
REFN: It depends on what kind of movie you make. We had great success with Only God Forgives on multiple platforms in the U.S. Young people will decide how they see it, when they want to see it. Don’t try to fight it. Embrace it. That’s a wonderful opportunity. We’re at the most exciting time since the invention of the wheel, in terms of creativity because distribution and accessibility have changed everything. A camera is still a camera whether it’s digital or not; there’s still sound; an actor is an actor. Ninety-nine percent of what you do is going to be seen on a smart phone – I know this is the greatest thing ever made because it allows people to choose, watching what you do on this format or go into a theater and see it on a screen. That means more people than ever will see what I do, which is personally satisfying in terms of vanity. But you have to be able to adapt, to accept things in different order and length than we’re used to. We are in a very, very exciting time.
~ Nic Refn to Jen Yamato

DEADLINE: You mention Tarantino, who with Christopher Nolan and a few other giants, saved film stock from extinction. To him, showing a digital film in a theater is the equivalent of watching TV in public. Make an argument for why digital is a good film making canvas.
REFN: Costwise, it’s a very effective way for young people to start making movies. You can make your movie on an iPhone. It’s wonderful seeing how my own children use technology to enhance creativity. For me it’s a wonderful canvas. Sure, I love grain in film. I love celluloid. But I also like creativity. I like crayons, I like pencils, I like paint. It’s all relative. Technology is more inclusive. A hundred years ago when film was invented, it was an elitist club. Very few people got to make it, very few people controlled it and very few people owned it. A hundred years later, storytelling through images is everyone’s domain. It’s ultimate capitalism. There are no rules, and no barriers and no Hays Code. Where does this go in another hundred years? I don’t know but I would love to see it.
~ Nic Refn To Jen Yamato