EXCLUSIVE: IFC Films has acquired North American rights to A Call to Spy, the feature directorial debut of Oscar nominated documentary producer Lydia Dean Pilcher about the unsung female heroes of WWII. IFC plans a fall release, Deadline has learned.
Produced, written by and starring Sarah Megan Thomas (Equity), who plays real-life American spy Virginia Hall, pic takes place at the onset of WWII when Winston Churchill ordered a new spy agency, the Special Operations Executive, to recruit and trains female spies. Their daunting mission: conduct sabotage and build a resistance. SOE’s “spymistress,” Vera Atkins (Stana Katic), recruits two unusual candidates: Hall, an ambitious American with a wooden leg, and Noor Inayat Khan (Radhika Atpe), a Muslim pacifist. Together, these women help to undermine the Nazi regime in France, leaving an unmistakable legacy in their wake. Atkins, later became the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond franchise.
Arianna Bocco, EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films, said, “It’s rare to find a war movie with one complex female character – let alone three, as in A CALL TO SPY. Lydia Dean Pilcher and Sarah Megan Thomas have beautifully crafted the true story of real women who confronted hatred in World War II, and we’re thrilled to bring their film the attention it deserves.”
“These three women, driven by the stakes of humanity, had a choice to collaborate, do nothing, or resist. Their stories are more relevant today than ever. Happy to be working with IFC Films, a longtime champion of independent vision,” said Pilcher.
Thomas added, “I am thrilled to be teaming up with IFC on this story about real female heroes. We look forward to sharing with the world a film that humanizes brave people from different countries who came together in a time of crisis — understanding we are all in this together.”
The camaraderie depicted on screen is also reflected in the credits with several women holding key positions behind the camera in the making of A Call to Spy including costume designer Vanessa Porter, production designer Kim Jennings and composer Lillie Rebecca McDonough.
The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films’ Director of Acquisitions Aijah Keith with Sarah Megan Thomas of SMT Pictures, LLC. on behalf of the filmmakers.
A Call to Spy also stars Linus Roache as Colonel Maurice Buckmaster, Rossif Sutherland, Marc Rissmann as Klaus Barbie, along with Samuel Roukin, and Laila Robins. The pic made its world premiere at the 2019 Edinburgh International Film Festival and won awards at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Whistler Film Festival.
During a time when the major circuits are closed down during COVID-19, IFC Midnight has had a noble feature hit on its hands with the horror movie The Wretched which has made over $1.4M from the handful of drive-ins that have remained opened.