FilmRise Acquires N.A. Distribution Rights to ‘The Justice of Bunny King’

FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has acquired North American digital, broadcast and theatrical distribution rights to The Justice of Bunny King.

Starring Essie Davis (The Babadook, Assassin’s Creed) and Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit, Last Night in Soho, The Power of the Dog), the film is New Zealander Gaysorn Thavat’s feature directorial debut and follows the triumphant and heart-breaking story of a mother who tries to battle her way back from the bottom to regain custody of her children.

In the film, Bunny King (Davis), a headstrong mother of two with a sketchy past, makes a living by washing windows at traffic lights. Using her razor-sharp wit to charm money from gridlocked motorists, she saves every cent in order to try to regain custody of her two children, who have been placed in foster care. After promising her daughter a birthday party, Bunny must fight social services and break the rules to keep her word, but in doing so she risks losing her children altogether. Accompanied by her niece Tonyah (McKenzie), a fierce teenager running away from home and desperate for her aunt’s help, Bunny is in a race against the clock and headed towards an epic showdown with the authorities.

“This is another set of excellent performances that will be added to our ever-growing library of diverse and independent films that tell often overlooked stories,” Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise, said in a statement. “Through a rawness of someone who has hit rock bottom, both Essie Davis and Thomasin McKenzie convey through the very real struggles that many families face on a daily basis.”

The film, produced by Emma Slade of Firefly Films, had its worldwide premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival where it received the Special Jury Mention for the Nora Ephron Award. The film was an Official Selection at the 2021 Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival, and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, where Essie Davis was nominated for the Best Performance by an Actress award.

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The deal was negotiated by Katie Carroll Manager, independent film acquisitions for FilmRise, and Jonathan Walik, international sales executive for Protagonist Pictures.

“Essie Davis gives yet another tour de force performance in what has become a career full of them in this critically acclaimed debut,” Walik said in a statement. “We’re thrilled that The Justice of Bunny King has found a home with FilmRise in North America and have no doubt that their expertise in handling outstanding independent film will allow the film to reach as wide an audience as possible.”

‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ Coming to Disc Sept. 8

Shout! Factory in conjunction with IFC films has announced the Sept. 8 release of True History of the Kelly Gang, an Australian Western that follows the story of legendary outlaw Ned Kelly.

The film will be making its Blu-ray debut, and is available for preorder now from ShoutFactory.com.

An adaption of the 2000 novel of the same name by Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang is a highly fictionalized account of the life of Australian bushranger Ned Kelly (George McKay, 1917, Ophelia) and his gang as they flee from authorities during the 1870s. It is ostensibly written by Kelly to his fictional daughter.

It all begins when Ned Kelly’s mother (Essie Davis, The Babadook, Game of Thrones) sells him off into the hands of the notorious bushranger Harry Power (Russell Crowe, Gladiator, L.A. Confidential), where the young bandit discovers he comes from a line of warriors called the Sons of Sieve. Fueled by his roots and an appetite for revenge, Ned Kelly leads an anarchist army to wreak havoc on their oppressors.

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The film was directed by Justin Kurzel and written by Shaun Grant and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2019.

Acorn TV Readies First ‘Miss Fisher’ Theatrical Movie

AMC Networks’ Acorn TV Dec. 10 said it would debut a feature-length film, Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears, Jan. 4, 2020, at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The movie is based on the international “Miss Fisher” television series and murder mystery books.

Filmed on location in Melbourne, Australia, and in Morocco, Essie Davis (Lambs of God, “True History of the Kelly Gang,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Babadook”) returns in the eponymous lead role as the glamorous private detective, The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, whose exploits in 1920s Melbourne, Australia, lead her to murder, mystery and mayhem from London to British Palestine.

Private investors and fans contributed more than $1 million to the budget for Miss Fisher & The Crypt of Tears through a successful crowd funding campaign.

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Roadshow Films will release the film in Australia on Feb. 27 and it will make its U.S. launch in select theaters and on Acorn TV in March 2020.

Essie is joined by her co-stars from the series including Nathan Page as Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, Miriam Margolyes as Aunt Prudence and Ashleigh Cummings as her loyal companion Dorothy ‘Dot’ Collins. The international cast includes Britain’s Rupert Penry-Jones (Vita & Virginia, Spooks, Black Sails), Egyptian star Kal Naga (Vikings, The Last Post) and, returning to Australia, Daniel Lapaine (Muriel’s Wedding, Upright, Zero Dark City).

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“After first introducing U.S. audiences to Miss Phryne Fisher, Acorn TV is thrilled for her highly anticipated return at one of the United States most prestigious [film] festivals,” Don Klees, VP of programming for the Acorn brands, said in a statement. “Australia continues to produce first-rate programs, and Acorn TV remains a leading destination for bringing them to U.S. audiences.”

Acorn TV Launching ‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’ Movie, Spin-Off Series

Acorn TV Feb. 12 announced it will be the North American partner/distributor for new feature movie, Miss Fisher and The Crypt of Tears, starring Essie Davis (“The Babadook,” “Game of Thrones”), who spearheaded the title character in the acclaimed 2012-15 Australian TV series.

The SVOD service, which is majority owned by AMC Networks, released all three seasons on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, including the Series 1-3 Collection.

Acorn is also launching a spin-off series set in the 1960s titled “Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries,” and starring Geraldine Hakewill (Wanted).

Geraldine Hakewell

The service will premiere the film and original series in North America later this year online and in select theaters.

“After first introducing U.S. audiences to the fashionable Miss Phryne Fisher in 2013, Acorn TV is thrilled to work … on her highly anticipated cinematic film, as well as introduce audiences to her equally fashionable and entertaining niece Peregrine Fisher,” Don Klees, VP of programming for the Acorn brands at RLJ Entertainment, said in a statement.

Miss Fisher and The Crypt of Tears continues the story of “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.” Davis returns in the five-time Logie-nominated role that made her a worldwide star.

Set in the late 1920s, The Crypt of Tears follows Fisher on a Middle Eastern adventure in search of an ancient treasure. The film features several series regulars, including Nathan Page as Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, Miriam Margolyes as Aunt Prudence and Ashleigh Cummings as her loyal assistant and maid Dorothy ‘Dot’ Collins.