By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 10, 2014 at 5:22PM
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 here, Filmmaker 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."