IFC Midnight has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Welcome to Willits, the feature directorial debut of Trevor Ryan. The horror-comedy starring Bill Sage, Dolph Lundgren, Rory Culkin and Chris Zylka is slated to open in theaters and digital platforms September 22.
Written by the director’s brother Tim Ryan, the feature is adapted from their short Welcome to Willits: After Sundown, which premiered to critical acclaim at SXSW in 2015. The film is set in the Northern California woods, where residents struggle to fight off repeated attacks from mysterious creatures. When Brock (Sage), a local pot farmer, gets caught up with an unusual group of campers, the situation quickly escalates into total carnage.
With his wife Peggy (Sabina Gadecki), he tries to defend his family and maintain his sanity alongside a ragtag group of misfits including their niece Courtney (Anastasia Baranova), scruffy drifter named Possum (Culkin), a wannabe singer-songwriter Zack (Garrett Clayton), good ol’ boy Jeremiah (Chris Zylka), unemployed stoner Klaus (Thomas Dekker), his naive girlfriend (Karrueche Tran) and ditzy sorority girl Cassie (Keelin Woodell). All the while, Derek (Lundgren), a weathered police officer from Brock’s past, haunts him with his partner Jackson (Serge Levin). John Hickman also stars as an ominous convenience store clerk.
The film is produced by Jordan Yale Levine, Scott Levenson, Jon Keeyes of Yale Productions and Shaun Sanghani of SSS Entertainment. Matthew Helderman and Luke Taylor serve as executive producers alongside Patrick DePeters of BondIt Media Capital, Michael Rothstein, Brandon Baker and Serge Levin.
Willits marks the second collaboration between Yale Productions and distributor IFC Midnight after last year’s King Cobra, which told the true story about the murder of a gay porn producer. That film starred Welcome to Willits co-star Clayton, James Franco and Christian Slater and was released in October .
The Welcome to Willits deal was negotiated by Arianna Bocco of IFC Films and Uwe Boll of Event Films Worldwide on behalf of the filmmakers.