Fox Searchlight Pick Up Sundance Breakout 'Sound of My Voice'

by Oliver Lyttelton
April 21, 2011 1:26 AM
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Few rises in recent years have been as meteoric as that of Brit Marling. At the beginning of 2011, she was all but unknown, but by the end of January, she'd emerged as one of the most exciting new talents in independent film, having starred in, co-written and co-produced a pair of sci-fi tinged dramas that also happened to be two of the most widely acclaimed films at Sundance this year, "Another Earth" and "Sound of My Voice."

The former, directed by Mike Cahill, about a guilt-ridden drunk driver (Marling) who begins a relationship with the grieving husband and father (Wililam Mapother) of someone she killed while behind the wheel, against the background of the appearance of a new planet in the skies, was acquired almost immediately by Fox Searchlight, and has been set for a release later in the summer. But "Sound of My Voice," directed by Zal Batmanglij, which follows a couple who infiltrate an L.A. cult led by a charismatic, mysterious woman (Marling again), hadn't had the same immediate distribution success, despite wildly positive receptions at both Sundance and SXSW (where we saw, and loved, the film). Until now, that is.

Fox Searchlight have gone two-for-two with Marling, picking up "Sound of My Voice" in all English speaking territories. The studio comments that "Zal Batmanglij’s first feature offers a truly unique voice in filmmaking with a tense and compelling tale. Brit Marling amazed us once again with her stunningly deft performance. We are thrilled to be working with such exceptional talent," while the director (the brother of Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij, who's contributed the film's score), seems just as happy, saying that his film "could not have found a better home than at Fox Searchlight. I'm inspired by their brave choices and unwavering support of filmmakers. I'm excited to be part of the family."

It absolutely makes sense for Fox Searchlight to pick up the second film -- we'd wager that the release dates will be fairly close together, enabling Marling to work her charm on the circuit and benefit both pictures. But what's more, we're just pleased that the film's going to get such a high profile push. It was universally loved by The Playlist team when they saw it at SXSW, and we called it "a commanding picture that slowly uncoils itself like a serpent, one with mesmerizing allure and a sense of mysterious wonderment" when we named it one of our favorites of the festival.

With "Another Earth" hitting theaters on July 20th, we imagine "Sound of My Voice" will follow soon behind, possibly in August or September. Check the full press release out below, and if you want to know more about the film, our exclusive interview with Batmanglij and Marling from SXSW is a must-read. [via Deadline]

LOS ANGELES, CA April 20, 2011 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired rights to English speaking territories, including North America, United Kingdom and Australia, for the suspenseful drama SOUND OF MY VOICE theatrical release. Directed by Zal Batmanglij and written by Batmanglij and Brit Marling, SOUND OF MY VOICE stars Brit Marling, Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius and Avery Pohl. The film was produced by Hans Ritter, Shelley Surpin and Brit Marling.

“Zal Batmanglij’s first feature offers a truly unique voice in filmmaking with a tense and compelling tale. Brit Marling amazed us once again with her stunningly deft performance,” said Utley and Gilula. “We are thrilled to be working with such exceptional talent.”

“‘Sound of My Voice’ could not have found a better home than at Fox Searchlight. I'm inspired by their brave choices and unwavering support of filmmakers. I'm excited to be part of the family," said Batmanglij

In SOUND OF MY VOICE, Peter (Denham) and Lorna (Vicius), a young Los Angeles couple, infiltrate the underworld of a cult led by an enigmatic young woman named Maggie (Marling). Intent on exposing her as a charlatan and freeing the group members from her spell, Peter and Lorna start to question their objective as they unravel the mysteries of Maggie's past.

The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Megan O’Brien, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions Tony Safford and Vice President of Acquisitions Ray Strache with Shelley Surpin of Surpin & Mayersohn LLP, David Flynn and Rena Ronson of UTA’s Independent Film Group, CAA and Danielle Robinson of Alan Siegel Entertainment on behalf of the filmmakers.

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