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‘The Sweet East,’ Road Movie Starring Ayo Edebiri and Talia Ryder, Gets U.K. Release From Utopia (EXCLUSIVE)

“The Sweet East” is on the road again, this time heading across the pond for a theatrical release via Utopia, which has acquired the drama’s U.K. rights.

Marking celebrated cinematographer Sean Price Williams’ feature debut, “The Sweet East” stars Talia Ryder, Ayo Edebiri, Jacob Elordi, Simon Rex and Jeremy O. Harris as they embark on a road trip across the U.S. Utopia purchased the North American rights to the film last year following its Director’s Fortnight premiere at Cannes Film Festival, and has since shepherded it around the continent to play in theaters in New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Toronto, Montreal, Atlanta, D.C. and more.

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In addition to acquiring the U.K. rights for the film, Utopia is teaming up with Gotham Photochemical to produce new 35mm prints for “The Sweet East’s” continued theatrical expansion in North America and the U.K. The first 35mm screening will take place on Feb. 23 in New York City at The Roxy Cinema, followed by March 2 at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre in L.A.

“The Sweet East” will have its U.K. premiere on March 10 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, with a subsequent theatrical opening at the ICA on March 29. More U.K. dates will follow, and tickets can be purchased on the film’s website.

“‘The Sweet East’ is a film salad,” Price Williams said in a statement. “Textures entirely grown from diets of movie theater experiences. The organic imperfections that give the greatest nourishments appear as mistakes when captured digitally. Natural beauty of the human face and subtle sensations of temperature are more immediately experienced, captured and presented on the living organism that is cellulose triacetate. There is no good reason to ask an audience to experience a film any other way.”

Added Kyle Greenberg, Utopia’s head of marketing and distribution: “Ensuring a long theatrical life for ‘The Sweet East’ has been our goal from the get-go. After collaborating with Gotham on our recent 35mm release of ‘Divinity’ and seeing the work that they can do, we knew Gotham would be up to the task of ensuring Sean and the team’s vision was exhibited truly in the best light. Utopia couldn’t be any more proud to continue ‘The Sweet East’s’ road-show on 35mm this year, well beyond the forthcoming February expansion in North America and now in the United Kingdom as well.”

Jaime Busby, CEO at Gotham Industries, said the collaboration with Utopia has been “exciting.”

“With a shared filmmaker-first attitude and a mutual commitment to the theatrical experience, our joint efforts in creating new 35mm prints not only contribute to the resurgence of celluloid but also ensure the film’s impactful reach in both North America and the U.K.,” Busby said. “It’s a testament to our dedication to supporting filmmakers and championing independent cinema. With Kodak’s commitment to film being stronger than ever, there couldn’t be a better time to screen on 35mm. We commend Sean Price Williams and the entire filmmaking team for their dedication and vision in bringing ‘The Sweet East’ to life.”

“The Sweet East” has been hailed by critics following its Cannes debut, with Variety‘s Catherine Bray calling it an “engaging” and “promising” debut. “You can easily imagine it programmed alongside the likes of ‘American Honey,’ ‘Badlands,’ ‘The Doom Generation’ or ‘Gummo’ in a retrospective about disaffected young Americans and the often peculiar country they hail from,” Bray wrote.

The film has proven a hit at the indie box office for Utopia, scoring the company’s biggest NYC opening weekend to date with a gross of $30,000. The film ended 2023 as the fifth highest-grossing title at IFC Center and has made over $185,000 on 15 screens to date.

The U.K. rights deal was negotiated by Candace Tan on behalf of Utopia, and Thania Dimitrakopoulou of The Match Factory and Craig Butta on behalf of the filmmakers.

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