Cornerstone Films has secured sales in multiple territories, for writer/director Daniel Kokotajlo‘s (Apostasy) brooding and atmospheric folk horror Starve Acre from House Productions. The deals were struck after the movie’s world premiere at this year’s BFI London Film Festival, where it screened In Competition. Brainstorm Media has acquired distribution rights for North America and Cornerstone also closed a deal with BFI Distribution for the UK and Ireland. Additional deals include X Verleih (Germany and Switzerland), Blitz (Ex-Yugoslavia), Galapagos (Poland), Front Row (Middle East), Klockworx (Japan) and Terry Steiner (Airlines).
Access Entertainment, BBC Film and BFI presents this A House Productions Film written and directed by Kokotajlo, based on the eponymous book by Andrew Michael Hurly, and starring Matt Smith (Last Night in Soho, Morbius) and Morfydd Clark (Saint Maud, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”) in the lead roles. The cast is rounded out with Robert Emms (“Chernobyl,” “The Reckoning”), Erin Richards (“Gotham,” The Quiet Ones) and Sean Gilder (“The Gold,” “His Dark Materials”).
Set in rural England in the 1970s, Starve Acre centres on Richard and Juliette’s seemingly idyllic family life which is suddenly thrown into turmoil when their son starts acting out of character. At Starve Acre, their remote family home, archaeologist Richard buries himself in exploring a folkloric myth that the ancient oak tree on their land is imbued with phenomenal powers. While Juliette turns to the local community to find some kind of peace, Richard obsessively digs deeper. An unexpected discovery soon occupies the couple’s attention and dark and sinister forces, unwittingly allowed into the home, offer a disturbing possibility of reconnection between them.
The film is produced by Tessa Ross, Juliette Howell, Derrin Shlesinger and Emma Duffy. The British film was developed with BBC Film and is funded by Access Entertainment together with BBC Film and the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding. Kokotajlo won the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI for his feature film debut Apostasy.
Commenting on the pick-up, Brainstorm Media CEO Michelle Shwarzstein said, “We are very excited to bring this stellar addition to the folk horror canon to American audiences. Starve Acre is masterfully made and unsettling in all the best ways.”
Laura Dos Santos, BFI Distribution Acquisitions Manager added, “A magnificent tribute to the British folk horror tradition which has always been in BFI Distribution’s DNA, Starve Acre is also a wonderfully original film. It will enthral a wide range of tastes in the UK and in Ireland – genre fans, cinephiles and beyond.”
Cornerstone will handle sales for the remaining territories at the upcoming American Film Market where they are also representing two Kiah Roache-Turner titles, Beast of War and Sting, as well as Mike Leigh’s untitled 2023 project, Polly Steele’s magical romance Four Letters of Love starring Pierce Brosnan, Helena Bonham Carter and Gabriel Byrne and Euros Lyn’s vampire black comedy The Radleys starring Damian Lewis and Kelly Macdonald.