EXCLUSIVE: Frank & LolaMatthew M. Ross’ masterful feature directorial debut that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, is getting a December 9 theatrical release in 20-25 markets. Universal acquired the title out of the festival for $2 million, but Paladin is distributing through its partnership with Great Point Media, the company which Frank & Lola producer Robert Halmi Jr. owns.

Ross is a former Variety film reporter and Filmmaker editor, and he nurtured this project for 10 years to make sure his vision was executed properly, not hastily, specifically landing the right cast in Michael Shannon, Imogen Poots, Justin Long and Michael Nyqvist.

In Frank & Lola, Shannon plays a Las Vegas-based chef bound for greatness with a shot at a big restaurant gig in Paris. He’s in love with Lola (Poots), and soon learns about her flawed, enigmatic past. Pic’s rich, textured cinematography is by Eric Koretz (Comet).

On the limited side during December 9-11, Frank & Lola will compete against Lionsgate’s Emma Stone-Ryan Gosling musical La La Land.