By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

NEON AND 30WEST LAND DOMESTIC RIGHTS TO CRAIG GILLESPIE’S STANDOUT DARK COMEDY “I, TONYA”

Toronto, Canada (September 11, 2017) – In one of the most high-profile sales of Toronto International Film Festival, NEON and 30WEST are excited to announce they have landed domestic rights to Craig Gillespie’s much talked about dark comedy, I, TONYA which premiered here on Friday to both critical and audience acclaim.

I, TONYA is an at times absurd, tragic and hilarious look at the woman at the center of the biggest scandal in sports history, Tonya Harding, who dominated the ice with unrivaled athleticism and made headlines for something else entirely.

The film stars Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding, with Allison Janney playing her mother in stand out roles that quickly began garnering awards buzz after Friday’s festival World Premiere.  Sebastian Stan rounds out the cast as Jeff Gillooly, Harding’s scheming ex-husband. Julianne Nicholson, Paul Walter Hauser and Bobby Cannavale co-star.

The film is directed by Craig Gillespie with a screenplay by Steven Rogers.  Bryan Unkeless, Steven Rogers, Margot Robbie and Tom Ackerley produced the film. Len Blavatnik and Aviv Giladi executive produced the film for AI Films, who financed the project. Rosanne Korenberg and Zanne Devine executive produced.

The deal was negotiated by NEON and 30WEST and CAA and UTA on behalf of the filmmakers. Bill Block, CEO of Miramax, Adrian Lopez, SVP Business and Legal Affairs at Miramax and Vince Holden of AI Films negotiated the deal on behalf of their respective companies.

30WEST has had an active festival, making a seven figure deal with YouTube Red to acquire Morgan Spurlock’s SUPER SIZE ME 2: HOLY CHICKEN!. The company co-represented the domestic rights alongside Cinetic.

ABOUT NEON

NEON’S debut film was Nacho Vigalondo’s COLOSSAL, starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis. NEON was an active buyer at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, acquiring Matt Spicer’s INGRID GOES WEST, winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award and Eliza Hittman’s BEACH RATS, winner of the Directing Award, U.S Dramatic. NEON recently released Academy Award winning director, Laura Poitras’s RISK, Ana Lily Amirpour’s THE BAD BATCH and Errol Morris’, THE B-SIDE.  They’ve announced the acquisition of the French language Belgian thriller, RACER AND THE JAILBIRD, SXSW audience sensation, Aaron Katz’s GEMINI, Harmony Korine’s THE BEACH BUM and the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival opening night film by Janus Metz, BORG vs MCENROE.  NEON recently released Matt Spicer’s INGRID GOES WEST, starring Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen, to the highest per screen average of the weekend followed up by Eliza Hittman’s BEACH RATS on August 25th.

ABOUT 30WEST

Founded by Dan Friedkin and Micah Green, with partner Dan Steinman, 30WEST provides capital and strategic guidance to distinguished creative projects and forward-thinking companies operating throughout popular culture. Its media practice works with filmmakers to guide every stage of creative packaging, providing direct capital investment for production, sales, distribution and licensing in order to maximize production quality and audience reach.  The company maintains a close network of partners across every area of agency, management, capital and distribution to ensure that worthwhile projects and businesses receive the attention, momentum and resources they need to thrive.

Most recently, 30WEST arranged financing for Ridley Scott’s true crime thriller chronicling the harrowing 1973 kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, starring Michelle Williams, Kevin Spacey and Mark Wahlberg, which is scheduled for theatrical release Christmas 2017.

ABOUT AI FILM

Established in 2013, AI Film is an independent film finance and executive production company owned by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, investing in features from the US and UK with international market potential. Headquartered in London and headed by CEO Aviv Giladi, the company works alongside the world’s most exciting elite filmmakers and production partners to deliver bold, quality commercial films.

AI Film’s current slate of titles includes the upcoming biopic I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as Bart Layton’s eagerly anticipated American Animals. Past projects include Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge and Martin Scorsese’s historical drama, Silence and Lee Daniels’ BAFTA nominated The Butler; Ian McKellen starrer Mr Holmes. For further information, visit: www.ai-film.com

“It’s been a whirlwind couple of days and we’re so thrilled by the overwhelming response I, Tonya received since premiering in Toronto,” said LuckyChap Entertainment and Clubhouse Pictures. “This film means the world to us and we’re really happy to find a distribution partner in NEON, who loves it as much as we do. From the first meeting we had with them, their passion spoke volumes. They completely captured the essence and tone of our film and embraced the spirit of it through their innovative marketing approach.”

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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