Protagonist Pictures Boards Directors’ Fortnight Title ‘The Rider’ — Cannes

UK-based outfit Protagonist Pictures has boarded worldwide sales for upcoming Cannes Directors’ Fortnight title The Rider, written and directed by Chloe Zhao. It’s Zhao’s second feature and second film selected for Directors’ Fortnight.

The film stars Brady Jandreau along with Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau, Lane Scott and Cat Clifford and story follows a young cowboy (Brady), once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, who is warned that his competition days are over after a tragic riding accident. Back home, he finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose: to ride and compete. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for a new identity and tries to redefine his idea of what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.

While visiting the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for her first feature Songs My Brothers Taught Me (which premiered in Sundance) Zhao connected with a group of cowboys, including Brady, and wrote The Rider around his tragic story.

Protagonist will launch sales on the title in Cannes and is co-repping domestic rights with WME Global. Project is produced by Zhao’s company Highwayman Films, Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche of Caviar Films and Mollye Asher. Caviar’s Michael Sagol and Jasper Thomlinson are exec producers.

The Rider is a film of great beauty and poetry,” said Protagonist CEO Mike Goodridge. “I was a huge admirer of Chloe’s first feature Songs My Brothers Taught Me, and her story of the young cowboy Brady is another indelible portrait of contemporary rural Americans.”

It’s the second Directors’ Fortnight title that Protagonist is handling for the festival: the company is also shopping Sean Baker’s newest title The Florida Project, starring Willem Dafoe.

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