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New Distribution Combine Acquires Young Lincoln Biopic 'Better Angels' (TRAILER)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 10, 2014 at 5:22PM

New distribution combine Amplify has acquired U.S. rights to the young Lincoln biopic "The Better Angels," starring Jason Clarke and Brit Marling.
Jason Clarke in 'The Better Angels'
Jason Clarke in 'The Better Angels'
'The Better Angels'
'The Better Angels'

Amplify has acquired U.S. rights to the Terrence Malick-produced biopic of young Abraham Lincoln entitled "The Better Angels," starring Jason Clarke, Diane Kruger, Brit Marling, and Wes Bentley. The poetic black-and-white period drama, which marks the debut of editor-turned-filmmaker A.J. Edwards, played at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals. Amplify plans a fall release in theaters, followed by a VOD and home video release in early 2015.

"The Better Angels" follows Lincoln during his formative years (remember the 1939 John Ford classic "Young Mr. Lincoln," starring Henry Fonda?). Set in the harsh wilderness of Indiana in 1817, the film explores Lincoln's complex family dynamic and the two women who guided him. 

Austin, Texas native Edwards has worked with his mentor Malick over the last decade, first as an editor on "The New World," then as second-unit director and editor on "The Tree of Life," "To The Wonder," and the forthcoming "Knight of Cups." The Malick aesthetic is visible in the film, which Malick developed for himself to direct and then passed on to his protege. (The Playlist review is hereFilmmaker interview here.)

"The Better Angels" was written and directed by A.J. Edwards and produced by Terrence Malick, Nicolas Gonda, Jake DeVito, and Charley Beil.

Financed by Preferred Ventures, Amplify was formed in 2014 from a merger of Dylan Marchetti's Variance Films (Spike Lee's "Red Hook Summer") and Logan Mulvey's digital distribution company GoDigital. Amplify works closely with filmmakers to hand-craft each release campaign. Former Focus Features executive Kent Sanderson has also joined the Amplify team. Upcoming Amplify releases include Terry Gilliam’s "The Zero Theorem" and Stuart Murdoch’s musical "God Help The Girl."

This article is related to: Terrence Malick

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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.