Roadside Attractions has acquired U.S. rights to Paul Dalio’s debut feature Touched with Fire (formerly titled Mania Days), starring Katie Holmes. A popular pick at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, the film tells the story of two bipolar poets whose art is fueled by their emotional extremes. When they meet in a psychiatric hospital their romance brings out all the beauty and darkness of their condition until they have to choose between sanity and love.
Holmes stars opposite Take This Waltz‘s Luke Kirby with a supporting cast that includes Griffin Dunne (Dallas Buyers Club), Christine Lahti (“Chicago Hope”) and Bruce Altman (Matchstick Men).
Drawing inspiration from his own life experience and journey with bipolar disorder, Paul Dalio wrote, directed, edited and scored Touched with Fire. The film is produced by Jeremy Alter and Kristina Nikolova Dalio, who also served as the film’s co-cinematographer. Spike Lee joined the project as Executive Producer after serving as Dalio’s professor at NYU Film School.
“‘Touched with Fire’ is a striking debut with fantastic performances. Paul has clearly put his heart and soul into this project and audiences will connect with it. We’re thrilled to be releasing,” says Roadside Attractions co-president Howard Cohen.
“I’m grateful that Roadside has put their faith in my film,” adds Dalio. “They are an extraordinary company and their passion for the film and strong vision for its release were immediately clear. I know they will give this film a chance to have its greatest possible impact.”
“Roadside Attractions has an impeccable history as an innovative distributor and caretaker of both its films and filmmaker,” says Alter. “We are very excited to be partnering with them in bringing Paul’s unique vision to the screen.”
The deal was negotiated by Laura Lewis and Nick Ogiony at CAA and Craig Emanuel at Loeb & Loeb on behalf of the filmmakers and Howard Cohen on behalf of Roadside Attractions. International rights are being shopped at Cannes.