The Match Factory, 30WEST Board Venice Competition Drama ‘The Mountain’ Starring Tye Sheridan, Jeff Goldblum

Venice Film Festival

EXCLUSIVE: European sales stalwart The Match Factory has taken international rights to intriguing Venice Competition entry The Mountain, starring Tye Sheridan and Jeff Goldblum.

Rick Alverson (Entertainment) directs the drama, which also stars Hannah Gross (Netflix’s Mindhunter), Udo Kier (Downsizing) and Denis Lavant (Holy Motors).

30WEST will handle domestic sales on the movie, which Venice festival director Alberto Barbera was effusive about during his line-up press conference earlier this week.

It turns out the somewhat under-the-radar project was shepherded by Vice Studios, whose film unit is on a hot run just now following Cannes buzz title Climax and well-reviewed movies such as Lords Of Chaos and Under The Wire. Harmony Korine’s The Beach Bum, which also came in for special praise from Barbera on Wednesday, is another among their upcoming slate.

The Mountain‘s impressive producing team comprises Sara Murphy (If Beale Street Could Talk), a producing partner at Barry Jenkins’ Pastel, Ryan Zacarias (Mediterannea), Allison Rose Carter (A Vigilante) and Vice’s Eddy Moretti (The Bad Batch). Executive producers are Natalie Farrey (Her), Vincent Landay (Her), Tye Sheridan and Vice’s Danny Gabai (The Bad Batch).

Alverson’s previous two films both debuted at Sundance and his latest sounds pretty fascinating. In 1950’s-set The Mountain, a young man (Sheridan) who loses his mother and is raised by an emotionally stunted father goes to work with a doctor (Goldblum) who performs lobotomies and shock therapy. Lavant plays the leader of a cult who wants his daughter (Gross) to undergo the life-altering surgery.

Goldblum’s character is based on controversial U.S. physician Dr. Walter Freeman, who gained notoriety for carrying out thousands of lobotomies, including one on John Kennedy’s sister Rosemary. Many of Freeman’s patients died or were left with severe disability following his surgery, which involved putting an ice pick through patients’ eyes. An estimated 40% of his patients (or victims might be more appropriate) were gay individuals subjected to the procedure in an attempt to change their sexual orientation.

I understand The Match Factory’s Michael Weber had been tracking Alverson’s career for some time and boarded his latest movie in the last couple of weeks. The firm has been considering taking on more U.S. pictures.

The German company has two more titles playing in Venice’s mouth-watering Competition: Roberto Minervini’s strong-looking U.S. race relations documentary What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire? and festival favorite Carlos Reygadas’s Nuestro Tiempo (Our Time). The Cologne-based sales force also has Ron Mann’s documentary Carmine Street Guitars playing Out Of Competition.

At last year’s festival, the art-house champion debuted Samuel Maoz’s acclaimed Foxtrot, which was picked up by Sony Classics, and Lucrecia Martel’s eccentric historical drama Zama. The company enjoyed a blockbuster Cannes this year, taking nine movies to the festival, with prize winners including Girl, Happy As Lazzaro and Ayka (My Little One).

Mud star Sheridan is coming off Ready Player One and X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which is in post-production. Goldblum recently starred in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and voiced Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs.

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