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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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch