EXCLUSIVE: Kourosh Ahari’s The Night made history as the first U.S.-produced film to receive a license for a theatrical release in Iran. Now, IFC Midnight has acquired the North American rights to the psychological thriller which will be released January 2021.
The Night marks Ahari’s feature directorial debut and stars Shahab Hosseini (A Separation, Cannes 2016 Best Actor winner for The Salesman) and Niousha Jafarian (Here and Now, Stitchers) as an Iranian couple who find themselves locked inside an old hotel with their one-year-old daughter. While attempting to make the best of this creepy hotel, an outside force pushes them to share the secrets they’ve hidden from each other. How, and if, they check out depends on how carefully they question everything and anyone that comes across their path. The film also features George Maguire (Fight Club, Pursuit of Happyness).
“We feel elated that we have found such a caring and supportive partner, IFC Midnight, to be the champions for this Iranian story,” said Ahari. “The Night on the surface is a thrilling psychological horror pivoting around an Iranian couple, but beneath it explores a common, yet very complex human condition intending to provoke the minds of audiences leaving theaters.”
He continued, “The Night is meant to be seen in theaters and we are excited that IFC Midnight has made that happen despite the current COVID climate. We are confident and thrilled to be collaborating with Aijah and the wonderful IFC Midnight team to get this picture out to the world.”
“The Night expertly crafts traditional horror elements and turns them into something fresh,” said Arianna Bocco EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films. “The combination of strong lead performances, genuinely eerie sound design, and tense atmosphere make for a winning psychological horror experience that will surprise and challenge audiences across the board.”
The film is produced by Alex Bretow for Mammoth Pictures, Ahari for Mammoth Pictures, Jeffrey Allard (the 2003 and 2006 versions of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) for Indie Entertainment, Cheryl Staurulakis (The Night Watchmen) for Orama Filmworks, Armin Amiri for Supernova8 Films and Mohammad Dormanesh. Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) is consulting producer. George Rush (Sorry to Bother You), Behnam Bebahani, Leo Staurulakis, Ryan Clarkson, David Spisak, Chris Johns, Derek Benham, Robert Spears, Charles Freiberg and P.K. Patel executive produce. The Night is from production company Mammoth Pictures, in association with 7Skies Entertainment, Indie Entertainment, Orama Filmworks, Leveller Media and Supernova8 Films. The film employed a diverse cast and crew made up of predominantly Iranian immigrants who are legal citizens/green card holders, or US-born Iranian-Americans. All department heads leading the production, from production through post were also Iranian or of Iranian descent.
The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films’ Director of Acquisitions Aijah Keith and Acquisitions Coordinator Adam Koehler with Alex Bretow of Mammoth Pictures and Jeffrey Allard of Indie Entertainment. Premiere Entertainment is handling international sales.