EXCLUSIVE: In the continuing evolution of A24, the indie distributor has found a young filmmaker it wants to back long-term and has made its first multi-picture deal with a director. The company has acquired Krisha, the first film by director Trey Edward Shults that won 2015 SXSW’s grand jury and audience awards for narrative feature, and strong reviews for its inventiveness. The deal calls for A24 to produce and distribute his second feature, It Comes At Night.

Who’s Shults? He started as an intern who worked for director Terrence Malick on The Tree Of Life, and then worked in the camera department for Malick’s Voyage Of Time and Weightless. He then wrote, directed and produced Krisha, based on his short film of the same name. Most of the cast is comprised of members of his own family in a drama set in Texas over a turbulent Thanksgiving weekend. The micro-budget film was produced by Justin R. Chan, Chase Joliet and Wilson Smith. It was exec produced by J.P. Castel and Jonathan R. Chan.

shultsThe new film, It Comes At Night, will be Shults’ follow-up feature, a psychological horror film about a father who will stop at nothing to protect his wife and son from a malevolent, mysterious presence terrorizing them right outside their doorstep. A24 will develop the pic with Shults.

In a statement, the distributor called Shults “an artist on the rise and we are proud to partner with him. His unique approach, singular style, confident storytelling and edge shines through Krisha and we are excited to collaborate with such an exceptionally talented filmmaker at the beginning of what will no doubt be a long, celebrated career.”

WME reps Shults and brokered both deals with A24.