US deals for Stephen McCallum’s crime drama ‘1%’

A24 and DirecTV have acquired North American rights to Australian director Stephen McCallum’s debut feature 1% after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The crime drama starring Matt Nable, Ryan Corr, Josh McConville, Aaron Pedersen, Abbey Lee and Simone Kessell will be released in cinemas and on DirecTV in 2018.

DirecTV linked up with the independent distributor to jointly acquire films for US distribution in 2013.

Typically the satellite broadcasting giant get the rights to offer titles on demand 30 days before cinema release.

First reported in the Hollywood Reporter it was A24’s first acquisition at the festival, where the firm’s films Lady Bird, Florida Project, Lean on Pete and The Disaster Artist are screening.

Celluloid Dreams is handling international sales to 1% and Icon and Ticket to Ride will co-release in Australia.

“A24 is without question one of the strongest independent film distributors working in America. It’s a great result for the film and for Stephen as a director; we could not have anticipated a better result,” producer Jamie Hilton tells IF.

Scripted by Nable, the film premiered last Friday in the festival’s Discovery section, attracting mixed reviews.

Corr plays the vice president of an outlaw motorcycle gang who is forced to betray his president (Nable) to save his younger brother (McConville), resulting in civil war.

There was uniform praise for Nable’s performance but some critics questioned the predictable plot and the under-developed female characters.

Screen Daily’s Tim Grierson predicted the film will appeal to “fans of crime dramas like Animal Kingdom and Gomorrah — not to mention the twisty television adaptations they inspired” – but its wider theatrical prospects look modest.

Grierson opined: “Filled with grubby urgency and sleazy sexiness, this tale of an honourable lieutenant who must choose between his simpleton brother and the ruthless kingpin of his biker gang adeptly establishes its milieu before bowing to nearly every genre convention.

“Nable has just the right look for a bare-knuckle thug desperate to hold onto his kingdom — too bad that his own screenplay hasn’t given the character any particularly clever ways to go about that.”