IFC Midnight announced today that it is acquiring North American rights to A BANQUET, the feature debut from Ruth Paxton, whose award-winning short films have been exhibited and nominated in competition at numerous prominent film festivals worldwide. A BANQUET is a visually arresting, slow-burning psychological horror that uses subtle supernatural elements to create tension within a family in the midst of a breakdown, exploiting the complicated bond between three generations of mothers and daughters.
The film stars Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil film series, High Rise), British rising stars Jessica Alexander (Get Even) and Ruby Stokes (Rocks, Una), and award-winning actress Lindsay Duncan CBE (Made in Italy, Private Lives). A BANQUET will be released by IFC Midnight in 2021.
Producers on the film are Leonora Darby, Mark Lane and James Harris for Tea Shop Productions (47 Meters Down, I Am Not A Serial Killer), Nik Bower for Riverstone Pictures (Final Portrait, At Eternity’s Gate) and Laure Vaysse (Billie, 6 Minutes to Midnight) for REP Productions 8, which also funded the production. Deepak Nayar, co-founder of Riverstone Pictures, serves as Executive Producer, alongside Jeremy Baxter of Riverstone, Patrick Fischer and Richard Kondal of Creativity Capital and screenwriter Justin Bull.
Widowed mother Holly (Sienna Guillory) is radically tested when her teenage daughter Betsey (Jessica Alexander) experiences a profound enlightenment and insists that her body is no longer her own, but in service to a higher power. Bound to her newfound faith, Betsey refuses to eat but loses no weight. In an agonizing dilemma, torn between love and fear, Holly is forced to confront the boundaries of her own beliefs.
Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films said, “We’ve had an outstanding year breaking out new voices in the horror genre, and we’ve never been more primed to bring Ruth Paxton and her brilliant and provocative feature debut to audiences across the country.”
Director Ruth Paxton added, “I’m thrilled to be partnering with such an established champion of independent cinema in IFC Films. It is daunting to be introducing my first feature with them considering they’ve previously supported many of my cinematic heroes; from Von Trier and Audiard to McQueen, Kent and Kurzel, but I’m incredibly excited and I can’t wait to launch A BANQUET with them!”
In 2020, IFC Midnight has introduced American audiences to some of the most exciting directorial debuts in the horror genre including; Natalie Erika James (RELIC), Carlo Mirabella Davis (SWALLOW), Jennifer Reeder (KNIVES AND SKIN), Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe (GREENER GRASS), Dave Franco (THE RENTAL), Egor Abramenko (SPUTNIK), Brett and Drew Pierce (THE WRETCHED), and the upcoming films from Hannah Bergholm (A HATCHING) and Keith Thomas (THE VIGIL). IFC Midnight has long championed the careers of breakout filmmakers such as Jennifer Kent (THE BABADOOK, THE NIGHTINGALE) and Peter Strickland (BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO, DUKE OF BURGUNDY).
The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films’ Director of Acquisitions Aijah Keith and Acquisitions Coordinator Adam Koehler with Hanway Films on behalf of the filmmakers.
ABOUT IFC MIDNIGHT
Established in 2000 and based in New York City, IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of independent film. Its unique distribution model makes independent films available to a national audience by releasing them in theaters as well as on digital and cable’s Video On Demand (VOD) platform, reaching nearly 50 million homes.
Upcoming releases include Hannah Bergholm’s HATCHING and Keith Thomas’ THE VIGIL. Some of the company’s successes have included Andy Nyman’s critical darling GHOST STORIES, André Øvredal’s box-office success THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, Peter Strickland’s modern giallo BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO, Dave Franco’s THE RENTAL, Natalie Erika James’ RELIC, and the award-winning and cultural phenomenon THE BABADOOK. IFC Midnight is a sister label to IFC Films, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.
ABOUT HANWAY FILMS
HanWay Films is a UK based international sales company specialising in quality, high-profile and commercially driven films from visionary and unique filmmakers around the world. Established in 1998 by producer Jeremy Thomas, HanWay offers full service solutions; arranging financing, sales, marketing and distribution. HanWay Films has long-term global producing partnerships and represents films from Recorded Picture Company along with projects from third party producers as well as the rights to an extensive film catalogue of over five hundred feature films.
HanWay’s slate includes Matteo Garrone’s PINOCCHIO starring Roberto Benigni; Sia’s MUSIC starring Kate Hudson; Bryan Fogel’s highly anticipated film THE DISSIDENT; Ruth Paxton’s directorial debut A BANQUET; Phillip Noyce’s PEGGY JO starring Lily James; Kim Mordaunt’s WILDLANDS starring Matthias Schoenaerts; Jasmine McGlade’s FENCER starring Zoe Saldana; Julien Temple’s CROCK OF GOLD: A FEW ROUNDS WITH SHANE MACGOWAN; Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut and film festival favourite FALLING; Paul Schrader’s THE CARD COUNTER starring Oscar Isaac; John Patrick Shanley’s WILD MOUNTAIN THYME and Simon Barrett’s SEANCE starring Suki Waterhouse. The company also represents THE SONG OF NAMES directed by Francois Girard and starring Tim Roth and Clive Owen; Robin Wright’s feature directorial debut LAND; Richard Press ’FARNSWORTH HOUSE; James D’Arcy’s heart-warming comedy MADE IN ITALY starring Liam Neeson and Micheál Richardson and Andrew Levitas ’redemptive thriller MINAMATA starring Johnny Depp. For more information, please visit www.hanwayfilms.com
ABOUT RIVERSTONE PICTURES
Riverstone Pictures is a Reliance Entertainment company, founded in 2014 by Nik Bower and Deepak Nayar to produce theatrical feature films and high end television. Based in London and Los Angeles, the company has produced or financed more than twenty major motion pictures to date, including Talyor Sheridan’s WIND RIVER (for which Sheridan won Best Director in Un Certain Regard), Julian Schnabel’s AT ETERNITY’S GATE (for which Willem Dafoe won the Volpe Cup in Venice and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor) and Sara Colangelo’s searing 9/11 drama WORTH, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year. The company is currently in pre-prep on Olivia Wilde’s PERFECT for Searchlight Pictures, and it has a substantial development slate led by Focus and Protagonist alum Jeremy Baxter.
ABOUT REP PRODUCTIONS 8
A Banquet adds to REP Productions 8 Ltd’s (REP8) growing slate of UK productions which includes the love drama Tell It to the Bees, starring Anna Paquin (The Piano, True Blood) and Holliday Grainger (Jane Eyre, Cinderella) released last year internationally. The company was funded through Motion Picture Capital’s EIS fund.