Shout! Studios Wins Distribution Rights to ‘Language Lessons’

Shout! Studios, the multi-platform distribution and production arm of Shout! Factory, April 6 announced it has acquired North American rights to the drama Language Lessons from Duplass Brothers Productions.

Starring and written by Mark Duplass and Natalie Morales, Language Lessons, a platonic love story, marks the feature directorial debut of Morales and was produced by Mel Eslyn. The film premiered at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival.

Duplass plays Adam, whose husband surprises him with a gift of a year’s worth of weekly Spanish lessons. But when tragedy strikes, his teacher, Cariño (Morales), becomes a lifeline he didn’t know he needed and the two develop an unexpected and complicated emotional bond.

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Shot in secret during the pandemic with a skeleton crew in Los Angeles and Costa Rica, Language Lessons received critical acclaim out of Berlin and SXSW.

Shout! Studios has secured all distribution rights in North America to Language Lessons, including theatrical, digital, video-on-demand, broadcast and home entertainment for cross-platform releases. Shout! Studios plans a strategic launch of this movie across all major entertainment platforms in North America, beginning with a theatrical launch later this year.

“We’ve been so humbled by the response to our little film, but it was Shout!’s unwavering passion and innovative strategy that won us over in the end,” Duplass said. “Can’t wait for this one!”

The movie deal was negotiated by Jessica Lacy at ICM Partners for Duplass Brothers Productions and Shout’s Jordan Fields, VP of acquisitions, Julie Dansker, head of new content sales, and Steven Katz, VP of business affairs, for Shout! Studios.

Language Lessons is a masterfully acted, sharply crafted, and profoundly entertaining portrait of friendship by Natalie and Mark,” Fields said. “It leaves you hopeful that real human connection can blossom in the uncongenial world of screens.”

“I am thrilled to partner once again with Mark and Mel, iconic storytellers and filmmakers, on this award-winning and very special film,” added Dansker. “The performances from Mark and Natalie are amazing and we are so excited to share Natalie’s incredibly impressive and refreshing directorial debut with audiences.”

A production of Duplass Brothers Productions, Language Lessons was executive produced by Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass. The film features original music by Gaby Moreno.

Tully

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 7/31/18;
Universal;
Drama;
Box Office $9.23 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for language and some sexuality/nudity.
Stars Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass, Ron Livingston.

Tully re-teams the writer/director pairing of Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman with actress Charlize Theron to present a raw, unflinching look at motherhood, postpartum depression and the sacrifices of being a parent.

The film plays almost like the flipside to the trio’s previous collaboration, 2011’s Young Adult, which featured Theron as a professional writer who practically refused to accept the boundaries of adulthood. Here, she plays Marlo, a 40-year-old mother of three who is confronted nonstop by responsibility.

Already dealing with a son with special needs, Marlo’s attention is pushed to the limit by a newborn daughter. Her wealthy brother (Mark Duplass) offers to pay for a night nanny to deal with the baby so Marlo can get a regular night’s sleep, which leads to the arrival of Tully (Mackenzie Davis), who seems to be the answer to all of Marlo’s troubles.

Marlo’s conversations with Tully and admiration for the girl’s youthful energy lead her to reflect on the path of her life and how the potential of her youth gave way to the road she ended up taking.

The schism between youth and maturity has become a common theme in the films directed by Reitman and scripted by Cody, who first teamed for 2007’s Juno, about a teenager dealing with the effect a pregnancy would have on her future. That proved to be a fruitful collaboration given that Cody subsequently went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. (The pair also worked on the Cody-penned Jennifer’s Body together, with Reitman serving as producer.)

Theron gives a tremendous performance in a role for which she reportedly gained 50 pounds. Ron Livingston is effective in a subtle performance as her husband, who would be willing to help more if only he realized how in over her head his wife was with the children. Theron and Livingston have a nice rapport together, suggesting a healthy marriage nonetheless weighed down by the experiences of life and the obstacles of family.

The Blu-ray includes a solid 10-minute featurette about the making of the film featuring interviews with the cast and filmmakers.