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Sundance Buy: A24 and DirecTV Snag Frontier Western 'Slow West' Starring Michael Fassbender

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood December 16, 2014 at 2:59PM

A24 and DirecTV have inked the first deal of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Fassbender and Smit-McPhee in 'Slow West'
Fassbender and Smit-McPhee in 'Slow West'

Ahead of the film's 2015 Sundance Film Festival premiere, John Maclean’s 19th-century western "Slow West" has been picked up by A24 Films. Following its debut in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at Sundance, "Slow West" will receive an exclusive video on demand release via DIRECTV before A24 opens the film in select theaters. A24 and DIRECTV partnered similarly on their Spring 2014 release "Enemy," starring Jake Gyllenhaal. No word yet on a release date for "Slow West."

Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave," "X-Men: Days of Future Past"), Kodi Smit-Mcphee ("The Road," "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"), Ben Mendelsohn ("Killing Them Softly") and Caren Pistorius (Australian TV series "Offspring") star in the British director's feature debut, which was shot in Scotland and New Zealand (filling in for Colorado) and did not make the 2014 fall fests as we expected. Fassbender has starred in two Maclean shorts; see the trailer for their 2012 BAFTA-winning "Pitch Black Heist" below. 

In "Slow West," 17-year-old Jay Cavendish (Smit-McPhee) treks from the Scottish Highlands to the American West searching for his lady love. He pays a mysterious traveler (Fassbender) to protect him. The film is produced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films ("The King’s Speech," "Shame," "Tracks") and Rachel Gardner of Rachel Gardner Films, with Fassbender stepping up for the first time as producer with Troika agent Conor McCaughan. Their production shingle DMC Film, founded in 2010, first produced "Pitch Black Heist."

Developed and co-financed by Film4 with the BFI, the New Zealand Film Commission and Fulcrum Media Finance, "Slow West" was shot by cinematographer Robbie Ryan ("Wuthering Heights" and "Philomena"), designed by Kim Sinclair ("Avatar," "Man Of Steel") with costume designs by Kirsty Cameron ("Whale Rider") and make-up by Dannelle Satherley ("The Hobbit"). 

This article is related to: Michael Fassbender, Western, Kodi Smit-McPhee, In The Works, IN THE WORKS, First Look, Festivals, Festivals, Sundance, Sundance 2015 , Sundance Film Festival, A24

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.