IFC Films has acquired Justin Kurzel’s “Nitram,” a searing drama about a mass killing that debuted at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it won a best actor prize for Caleb Landry Jones.
The film will have a hybrid release. It will premiere in theaters on March 30, 2022, while also debuting day and date on AMC Plus, AMC Networks’ streaming service. IFC has made films available to rent on the same day they hit cinemas, but this marks the first time that the indie studio has premiered a film simultaneously on its streaming arm.
“Nitram” is a portrait of the Australian mass killer involved in the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, which led to fundamental changes of gun control law in the country. In addition to Landry Jones, the film also stars Essie Davis, Judy Davis, and Anthony LaPaglia. “Nitram” dominated the 2021 Australian Academy Awards Tuesday night with 15 nominations, and eight total wins for best film, lead actor, director, lead actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, original screenplay, and editing.
The film has earned strong reviews for its sensitive look at a tragic subject. In Variety, Jessica Kiang praised the directing and acting, writing, “this nitroglycerine meditation on what makes a mass murderer is exactly that of watching a lit firework burn down in your hand toward its gunpowder base, unable to let go of it, transfixed by its snapping sparks.”
Here’s the official synopsis: “Nitram (Landry Jones) lives with his mother (Davis) and father (LaPaglia) in suburban Australia in the Mid 1990s. He lives a life of isolation and frustration at never being able to fit in. That is until he unexpectedly finds a close friend in a reclusive heiress, Helen (Essie Davis). However, when that relationship meets a tragic end, and Nitram’s loneliness and anger grow, he begins a slow descent that leads to disaster.”
Arianna Bocco, president of IFC Films, said, “IFC Films is proud to continue to be a home for Justin Kurzel’s fearless directorial vision, and with ‘Nitram,’ his exploration of one of the most impactful events in recent Australian history. Justin’s unique perspective of the time, paired with an award-winning performance from Caleb Landry Jones, is guaranteed to shake audiences to their core.”
Kurzel previously worked with IFC on the release of his films “Snowtown” and “True History of the Kelly Gang.” The director called Bocco and the company “my American film family.”
“I am thrilled that the relationship continues with ‘Nitram,’ I couldn’t think of a better home for the film,” he said.
The deal for the film was negotiated by Bocco with Wild Bunch International and CAA Media Finance representing the filmmakers. Wild Bunch International is handling international sales.
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