Kitty Green.

Neon has taken the North American rights to Kitty Green’s The Royal Hotel, due to star Julia Garner, Jessica Henwick and Hugo Weaving.

Expected to begin production in the coming months, the See-Saw Films feature follows Hanna (Garner) and Liv (Henwick), best friends backpacking in Australia.

After they run out of money, Liv, looking for an adventure, convinces Hanna to take a temporary live-in job in a pub called ‘The Royal Hotel’ in a remote Outback mining town. Bar Owner Billy (Weaving) and a host of locals give the girls a riotous introduction to Down Under drinking culture but things turn nasty when their jokes and behaviour cross the line. Soon Hanna and Liv find themselves trapped in an unnerving situation that grows rapidly out of their control.

The Royal Hotel is produced by Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Liz Watts for See-Saw Films, with Scarlett Pictures’ Kath Shelper. Simon Gillis will executive produce.

Green co-wrote the script with Oscar Redding, with the film inspired by Pete Gleeson’s 2017 documentary, Hotel Coolgardie.

Neon has previously distributed See-Saw Films feature Ammonite, from Francis Lee. The deal forThe Royal Hotel was negotiated by Jeff Deutchman and Mason Speta on behalf of Neon, Simon Gillis on behalf of Cross City Films, See-Saw’s in-house sales arm, alongside UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.

In a joint statement, See-Saw’s joint-MDs Sherman and Canning said: “We are very happy to be working with Neon again on the release of The Royal Hotel. Neon have an undeniable history of supporting both emerging and established filmmakers, and putting together innovative and provocative campaigns. We know that they are the right home to bring this film to US theatres.”

The Royal Hotel marks Green’s first feature to shoot in Australia. The Melbourne-born filmmaker’s previous work includes The Assistant, which also starred Garner, and documentaries Casting JonBenet and Ukraine is not a Brothel.

Transmission Films will distribute The Royal Hotel in Australia. Screen Australia has provided major production investment in association with the South Australian Film Corporation. Further finance comes via Screen NSW.

HanWay and Cross City Films are handling international sales.

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