EXCLUSIVE: IFC Films has acquired North American rights to The Novice, the first feature from writer-director Lauren Hadaway, which will debut in select theaters, digital platforms and VOD on December 17.
The festival favorite follows queer college freshman Alex Dall (Orphan‘s Isabelle Fuhrman), who joins her university’s rowing team and undertakes an obsessive physical and psychological journey to make it to the top varsity boat.
Hadaway based the thriller on personal experience as a competitive collegiate rower. With it, she poses provocative questions about the expectations imposed on young women in America, and the psychologically damaging effects of a culture that encourages the pursuit of being “the best” no matter the cost.
Amy Forsyth, Dilone, Kate Drummond, Jonathan Cherry and Charlotte Ubben round out the cast of the film, which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, winning the top prize of Best U.S. Narrative Feature, as well as awards for Best Actress (Fuhrman) and Best Cinematography (Todd Martin).
Ryan Hawkins, Kari Hollend, Steven Sims, Zack Zucker produced, with Alex Engemann, Michael Tennant, Chris Hines and Ryan Bartecki serving as exec producers. Picture Movers, H2L Media Group and ZNZ Productions were the production companies involved.
“We’re thrilled to introduce Lauren Hadaway to U.S. audiences with her stunning and personal debut feature The Novice,” said, Arianna Bocco, president of IFC Films. “Isabelle Fuhrman’s knockout performance will speak to audiences who are perfectly primed for this devastating yet all too familiar story of striving for greatness.”
“I have visceral memories of being a 16-year-old wannabe filmmaker in small town Texas and watching IFC — it was my only way to see independent films that I couldn’t find at the local video store or movie theater,” added Hadaway. “Fifteen years later, I’m proud to say that my first film is a part of the IFC family.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by Bocco and IFC director of acquisitions Aijah Keith with CAA Media Finance and XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers.
Hadaway is represented by CAA and Bellevue Productions.