By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

FOCUS FEATURES ACQUIRES INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS TO LADY BIRD

TORONTO, CANADA, September 11, 2017 – Focus Features has acquired international rights to Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed directorial debut Lady Bird, company chairman Peter Kujawski announced today. A24 and IAC Films are partners on the movie.  Focus will be handling distribution in all territories outside of North America. Lady Bird has emerged as one of the biggest breakouts of the fall season, winning rave reviews from its screenings at both the Telluride and Toronto International Film Festivals. Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O’Neill are the producers.

“With Lady Bird, Greta has proven herself to be both a brilliant illusionist and a towering filmmaker. She tricks us into believing this is an intimate story about a specific character, time, and place until the culmination of the laughter and the tears makes you realize it’s actually a grand epic that is as universal, relatable and emotionally powerful as any story of mothers and daughters that has ever been put on film,” said Focus Chairman Peter Kujawski.  “We couldn’t be more honored to team with Greta and our friends at A24 and IAC to share her incredible work with audiences around the world.”

In Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig reveals herself to be a bold new cinematic voice with her directorial debut, excavating both the humor and pathos in the turbulent bond between a mother and her teenage daughter.  Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird’s father (Tracy Letts) loses his job.  Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amidst a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.

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“TIFF doesn’t make attendance numbers for its Lightbox screenings publicly available, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how many filmgoers the Lightbox is attracting (or how much money it’s bringing in). But the King Street West venue hasn’t become a significant draw for film enthusiasts. The Lightbox’s attendance has plunged – 49,000 fewer visitors last year, a drop of 27 per cent, according to figures recently reported in the Toronto Star. Its gallery space – designed to showcase the visions of cinema’s most iconic filmmakers – saw most of its exhibitions staff quietly axed this past fall. And its marketing barely escapes the Lightbox’s walls. Unless you are a TIFF member or one of the city’s most avid filmgoers, you could walk by the Lightbox and remain blissfully unaware of a single thing that goes on inside. TIFF “still has a world-class brand,” said Barry Avrich, a filmmaker and former board member, “but it’s going to take some fresh vision from retail, consumer programming and marketing experts, given how the lines have become intensely blurred when it comes to how people watch film. They will have to experiment with programming to find the right blend of function and relevance.”
~ Globe & Mail Epic On State of Toronto Int’l (paywalled)

“I’m 87 years old… I only eat so I can smoke and stay alive… The only fear I have is how long consciousness is gonna hang on after my body goes. I just hope there’s nothing. Like there was before I was born. I’m not really into religion, they’re all macrocosms of the ego. When man began to think he was a separate person with a separate soul, it created a violent situation.

“The void, the concept of nothingness, is terrifying to most people on the planet. And I get anxiety attacks myself. I know the fear of that void. You have to learn to die before you die. You give up, surrender to the void, to nothingness.

“Anybody else you’ve interviewed bring these things up? Hang on, I gotta take this call… Hey, brother. That’s great, man. Yeah, I’m being interviewed… We’re talking about nothing. I’ve got him well-steeped in nothing right now. He’s stopped asking questions.”
~ Harry Dean Stanton