IFC Midnight buys US rights to Natalie Erika James’ ‘Relic’

Robyn Nevin with Natalie Erika James.

IFC Midnight is continuing its near-decade long relationship with Australian cinema by acquiring North American rights to Natalie Erika James debut feature Relic.

The distributor will release the psychological horror movie starring Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin and Bella Heathcote, which had its world premiere at Sundance, in the northern autumn.

Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook is among IFC Midnight’s most successful releases, grossing $US951,000.

Justin Kurzel’s Snowtown was handled by IFC Midnight in 2011. Among its other Oz acquisitions are the Roache-Turner brothers’ Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, Damien Power’s Killing Ground and Justin Dix’s Crawlspace.

Co-written by James and Christian White, the film follows Nevin as Edna, an elderly, widowed matriarch who goes missing. Her daughter Kay (Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Heathcote) travel to their remote family home to find her. Soon after her return, they start to discover a sinister presence haunting the house and taking control of Edna.

Carver Films’ Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw produced with Nine Stories Productions’ Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker, with AGBO Films’ Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Todd Makurath and Mike Larocca executive producing.

Arianna Bocco, executive VP acquisitions and productions at IFC Films, said “Relic could not be a better fit for IFC Midnight. We are thrilled to be working with Natalie on her directorial debut as well as the fantastic cast and production team behind the film.”

James said she was “thrilled to be partnering up with IFC Midnight to get Relic out into the world. Relic explores the horrors and tragedy of ageing from a personal place, and I hope it speaks to audiences as it did at its recent Sundance premiere.”

Umbrella has yet to set a release date for the film funded by Screen Australia and Film Victoria.