Apple has taken the worldwide rights to Fancy Dance, the 2023 Sundance Film Festival title that stars Lily Gladstone, who recently landed an Oscar nomination for Apple’s Killers of the Flower Moon.
Erica Tremblay, who worked on FX series Reservation Dogs as a writer and director, made her feature debut on the film and also co-wrote and produced. The news of the pick-up comes over a year after the film bowed at Park City and subsequent festivals. In November, Tremblay co-wrote a guest column for THR with co-writer Miciana Alise talking about the film’s struggle to find distribution.
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“With a near-perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes and all of our accolades to boot, we are left mystified by the disconnect between our apparent success and an industry-supported distribution push,” reads the column. “Our film premiered in the same year as Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Both films star Lily Gladstone, are set in Oklahoma and deal with themes surrounding settler violence against Native peoples. As first-time indie filmmakers, we were under absolutely no illusion that Fancy Dance would receive the same kind of industry support as Mr. Scorsese’s juggernaut, but the disparity is so great that it renders our film virtually invisible and leaves only one available perspective: the non-Native one.”
Fancy Dance follows Jax (Gladstone) as she cares for her niece Roki (Isabel Deroy-Olson), following the disappearance of her sister. At the risk of losing custody to Jax’s father, Frank (Shea Whigham), Jax and Roki hit the road and scour the backcountry to track down Roki’s mother in time for the powwow that Roki has been preparing for.
Apple will release the film in theaters and on streaming later this year.
Confluential Films and Significant Productions/AUM Group are behind Fancy Dance, which was produced by Deidre Backs, Tremblay, Heather Rae, Nina Yang Bongiovi and Tommy Oliver. Gladstone, Bird Runningwater, Charlotte Koh and Forest Whitaker served as executive producers.
The deal was brokered by WME Independent on behalf of the filmmakers.
“Our film Fancy Dance has found the perfect home with Apple, and I am thrilled to share this beautiful story of two Seneca-Cayuga women with a global audience.” Tremblay said in a statement about today’s news. “As a Native American filmmaker, seeing my community included in the rich tapestry of cinema is a dream come true.”
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