Phase 4 Films acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to writer-director Shana Betz’s feature directorial debut Free Ride. The film stars Anna Paquin, Cam Gigandet, Drea De Matteo, Liana Liberato, Jeff Hephner, Brit Morgan and Ava Acres. Scripted by Betz, the film is produced by Susan Dynner, Cerise Hallam Larkin, Chris Swinney and Paquin, and executive produced by Mark Larkin and Stephen Moyer. This is the first film production from Paquin and Moyer’s new production company CASM. Phase 4 will release the film later this year in theaters and on demand. Paquin and Moyer star together in HBO’s True Blood. Set in the 1970s and based on her life story, Betz’s accomplished directorial debut is a provocative crime thriller: Paquin plays a single mother who moves to Florida with her daughters in search of a better life but gets pulled into the high-stakes drug-trade business.

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“Shana Betz has written and directed a poignant and gripping film anchored by a powerful performance by Anna Paquin,” says Phase 4’s Barry Meyerowitz. “We look forward to working with Shana, and the entire cast and producing team to bring this film to audiences.”

“It’s always very exciting to discover talented writers and directors at the beginning of their careers. Based on the life story of Shana Betz, our writer-director, Free Ride tells an emotionally intense story of survival, and the lengths a mother will go to, to take care of her children,” said Paquin. ”This was a story we felt passionately needed to be told. We are thrilled that Phase 4 is as excited about the film as we are and look forward to working with them.”

Phase 4’s Larry Greenberg and Katharyn Howe did the deal with Paradigm’s Nick LoPiccolo and attorney Ron Levin. Featured Artists Agency’s Brian Dreyfuss reps Betz and was heavily involved in packaging the movie. Cargo Entertainment is handling international sales.