Neon said Wednesday that it has acquired U.S. rights to writer-director Philippe Lacôte’s Night of the Kings, a deal that comes after the pic premiered earlier this week in the Horizons section of the Venice Film Festival. The drama, which has been selected as Ivory Coast’s submission for this year’s Academy Awards, is also playing later this month at the Toronto and New York film festivals. Memento Films International is handling international sales.
The distributor behind last year’s Best Picture Oscar winner Parasite has not set a release plan.
Night of the Kings centers on a young man (Koné Bakary) on his first night in the infamous Ivorian prison, “La Maca.” Upon arriving, he is christened the “Roman,” or “Storyteller,” and must entertain his audience until morning, risking death should he fail. Under a blood-red moon, he crafts a tale weaving together the country’s mythological past and recent history, while around him, prison politics threaten to boil over. Steve Tientcheu, Rasmane Ouedraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Abdoul Karim Konate, Anzian Marcel, Laetitia Ky and Denis Lavant also star.
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Lacôte’s debut feature Run premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section in 2014 and starred Konaté and Isaach De Bankole. It also served as Ivory Coast’s Oscar submission that year.
Producers on Night of the King are Delphine Jaquet, Yanick Letourneau, Ernest Konan, Yoro Mbaye and Banshee Films, Wassakara Productions, Peripheria and Yennenga Productions. Neon’s Jeff Deutchman negotiated the rights deal with Emilie Georges and Mathieu Delaunay of Memento Films International on behalf of the filmmakers.
Also today, Neon said it was rereleasing Parasite helmer Bong’s 2003 thriller Memories of Murder in U.S. theaters October 19-20, a two-night limited theatrical engagement repping the first event in a new partnership with Fathom Events. The presentation will include a post-screening conversation with Bong and Edgar Wright. The screenings of the pic, based on the true story of the hunt for a sadistic serial rapist and murderer terrorizing a small South Korean province in the 1980s, comes a year after the actual culprit was identified. It also was the first of many collaborations between the director and Parasite star Song Kang Ho.
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