IFC Films announced today that they have picked up the North American rights to distribute director Paul Schrader's modern day neo-noir thriller The Canyons, based on the screenplay by Bret Easton Ellis and starring Lindsay Lohan and adult film star James Deen.
The film will be given a day-and-date release in theaters and on digital platforms in the early summer as well as get a "Special Presentation" at the Film Society of LIncoln Center followed by a conversation between Schrader and the New York Film Festival's new Director of Programming Kent Jones.
Schrader's film deals with "the dangers of sexual obsession and ambition, both personally and professionally, among a group of young people in their 20's and how one chance meeting connected to the past unravels all of their lives, resulting in deceit, paranoia, cruel mind games and ultimately violence."
The movie has stirred up quite a bit of controversy starting with the unconventional way it has been promoted with a strange series of DIY teasers. Last month, no less than The New York Times wrote an extensive and not particularly flattering behind-the-scenes article about the making of the movie and Schrader has been quite outspoken about the refusal of various film festivals to premiere the movie.
Here is the official press release about the acquisition and release plans:
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.