Upstart distributor Neon has acquired North American rights to Beach Rats, writer-director Eliza Hittman film that played in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival. It capped a good night for Hittman, who also won the Directing Award at the fest’s closing awards ceremony that just wrapped in Park City.
It’s the third Sundance pickup for Neon, the newbie launched by former RADiUS co-chief Tom Quinn and Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League just ahead of the festival. It won an all-night bidding battle that reached nearly $3 million for Roxanne Roxanne, the Michael Larnell-directed that stars Chanté Adams, who just won the Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Performance.
Neon also snapped up Ingrid Goes West in another North American rights deal for a U.S. Dramatic title, this one also for around $3 million. The Matt Spicer-directed drama stars Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, and Billy Magnussen. Spicer and co-writer David Branson Smith won the fest’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award tonight.
Beach Rats enters on Frankie (Harris Dickinson), an aimless youth on the outer edges of Brooklyn, struggling to escape his bleak home life and navigating questions of self-identity. Frankie spends his summer balancing his time between his delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older men he meets online. As Frankie’s competing desires begin to consume him, his decisions leave him hurtling towards irreparable consequences.
UTA Independent Film Group made the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.