Sundance Selects acquires rights to Ethan Hawke’s Blaze
Sundance Selects announced today that it has acquired U.S. rights to the critically-acclaimed film Blaze, co-written, produced, and directed by Ethan Hawke. Sybil Rosen co-wrote the film with Hawke based on her memoir Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley. Jake Seal, John Sloss, and Ryan Hawke produced the film alongside Ethan Hawke.
After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and SXSW, the film has been lauded by audiences and critics alike. IFC Films and Sundance Selects have previously collaborated with Hawke on Richard Linklater’s Oscar-nominated film Boyhood, as well as the critically-acclaimed documentary Seymour: An Introduction and Chelsea Walls, both directed by Hawke.
Blaze held its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival where newcomer Ben Dickey won the Special Jury Award for Achievement in Acting for his portrayal of Blaze Foley. Blaze is inspired by the life of Blaze Foley, the unsung songwriting legend of the Texas outlaw music movement that spawned the likes of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. The film weaves together three different periods of time, braiding re-imagined versions of Blaze’s past, present, and future. The different strands explore his love affair with Sybil Rosen; his final performance in a near-empty honky-tonk; his last, dark night on earth; and the impact that his songs and his death had on his fans, friends, and foes.
Dickey, a musician in his own right, made his on-screen debut in Blaze alongside Alia Shawkat, Josh Hamilton, Charlie Sexton, Richard Linklater, Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, and Alynda Segarra. Keeping with the theme of the film, Dickey, Hawke and their castmates, performed Foley’s songs following both festival premieres. The majority of the music is written by Blaze Foley, with an original track by Ben Dickey and musical performances by many of the cast. The soundtrack will be released by Light in the Attic Records later this year.
Jonathan Sehring and Lisa Schwartz, Co-Presidents of IFC Films/Sundance Selects said: “Ethan has long been a valued member of the IFC Films family and we could not be prouder or more passionate to be partnering with him once more on this fantastic film. With Ethan’s most ambitious and exciting work as a writer/director, the story of Blaze Foley has been brought to life with extraordinary performances by newcomer Ben Dickey, Alia Shawkat and a supremely talented group of collaborators across the board. We can’t wait to share the film with audiences across the country.”
Hawke added, “Blaze was made with a tremendous amount of love and duct tape by all of the people involved. Joining forces with Jonathan Sehring and IFC/Sundance Selects is a natural continuation of the spirit with which the film was made. IFC released Boyhood and Seymour: An Introduction, two of the most near-perfect artistic experiences I’ve had. Jonathan’s passion and commitment to this film made this an obvious marriage.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, EVP of Acquisitions at IFC Films/Sundance Selects and Eric Sloss of Cinetic on behalf of the filmmakers.