Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition Pic ‘To The Stars’ Acquired By Samuel Goldwyn

to the stars
Samuel Goldwyn

EXCLUSIVE: Samuel Goldwyn Films has taken North American rights to Martha Stephens’ feature film To the Stars, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.

Set in a god-fearing 1960s small town in Oklahoma, To the Stars follows bespectacled and reclusive teen Iris as she endures the booze-induced antics of her mother and daily doses of bullying from her classmates. She finds solace in Maggie, the charismatic and enigmatic new girl at school, who hones in on Iris’ untapped potential and coaxes her out of her shell. When Maggie’s mysterious past can no longer be suppressed, the tiny community is thrown into a state of panic, leaving Maggie to take potentially drastic measures and inciting Iris to stand up for her friend and herself.

Manchester by the Sea‘s Kara Hayward stars along with Liana Liberato (The Best of Me), two-time Veep Emmy winner Tony Hale, Jordana Spiro (Netflix’s Ozark), Malin Akerman (Showtime’s Billions, Watchmen), Shea Whigham (Amazon’s Homecoming), Lucas Jade Zumann (TV’s Anne with an E) and Adelaide Clemens (SundanceTV’s Rectify).

Stephens’ previous films include Land Ho! which was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, Pilgrim Song, and Passenger Pigeons. 

The deal was negotiated by Peter Goldwyn and Meg Longo on behalf of Samuel Goldwyn Films, and CAA on behalf of the filmmakers. Foreign rights to the film are represented by International Film Trust. To the Stars also made its international premiere at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

“We were taken with the tender relationship between Liana Liberato and Kara Hayward’s characters, as well as the delightful supporting cast of teens and adults that make this a memorable and heartfelt coming-of-age story. Martha Stephens is a visionary director that balances the comedy, drama, and growing pains of growing up,” Longo said.

“Fifteen years ago while I was in film school, the last thing I’d see before shutting my eyes for the night was a poster of David Lynch’s Wild at Heart tacked onto my pockmarked wall. The iconic Samuel Goldwyn logo stamped at the poster’s bottom represented a sort of success that I could only long for at that time. How cool is it to come full circle?” added Stephens.

To the Stars was written by Shannon Bradley-Colleary; produced by Kristin Mann, Laura D. Smith and Erik Rommesmo; and executive produced by Carlos Enrique Cuscó, Emerson Machtus, Natalia Busquets, Kevin Christianson, Joe Christianson, Karen Schlossman, Jeff Schlossman, Bill Wallwork, Kerri Elder and Blake Elder. The film was financed by Northern Lights Films, Foton Pictures and Rockhill Studios, and produced in association with Prowess Pictures.

Northern Lights was behind the indie cult hit It Follows, and also financed Matt Walsh’s feature directorial debut High Road starring Ed Helms, Lizzy Caplan and Dylan O’Brien.

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