Following the film’s word-of-mouth success and increasing awards momentum, NEON sparked a bidding war for the buzzed about project, ultimately won by STUDIOCANAL and Blueprint Pictures.
NEON had acquired remake rights along with the documentary following its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won for “Creative Storytelling”. It has gone on to earn multiple awards across the festival circuit, most recently taking the “Best Documentary Feature” award out of the BFI London Film Festival, and received two Critics’ Choice Awards Nominations for Best Documentary Feature and Best Director.
STUDIOCANAL and Blueprint Pictures will develop and package the feature, with Blueprint producing and NEON and STUDIOCANAL executive producing. NEON and STUDIOCANAL will finance the development and production. A writer, director and cast are yet to be attached.
The Painter and the Thief follows a Czech artist who, desperate for answers about the theft of her 2 paintings, seeks out and befriends the career criminal who stole them.
NEON released the documentary to critical acclaim, with Variety calling it “incredible” and IndieWire saying it is a “nuanced and beguiling new documentary”, and New York Magazine emphasizing the “strange, delicately made film, which manages to defy expectations about both of its subjects and the power balance between them.”
The deal for The Painter and the Thief was negotiated by Jeff Deutchman for NEON, with Shana Eddy, Rachel Henochsberg and Vanessa Saunoi on behalf of STUDIOCANAL and Diarmuid McKeown on behalf of Blueprint Pictures.
This is the latest foray for NEON into development and production on the heels of their Best Picture win for Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, a film they boarded at script stage, as well as Alex Gibney’s Totally Under Control which was recently released on Apple TV. NEON has several projects at various stages of development and production, including Pablo Larrain’s Spencer.
NEON has garnered 12 Academy Award nominations, five wins, including Best Picture, and has grossed over $150 million at the box office. The company continues to push boundaries and take creative risks on bold cinema such as Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, which made history winning four Academy Awards, becoming the first non-English-language film to claim Best Picture.
The film, which also unanimously won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, has amassed over $53 million at the domestic box office and broke multiple records, including highest per-screen average of the year and highest per-screen average for a foreign language film of all time.
NEON has amassed a library of over 50 films with noteworthy releases including: Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov’s award-winning and record-breaking Honeyland, which is the first non-fiction feature to land Academy Award nominations for Best Documentary and Best International Feature Film in the same year; and Todd Douglas Miller’s Apollo 11, 2019’s highest grossing documentary with a worldwide gross of $16 million.
The company has also released Tim Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers, winner of the Sundance Special Jury Award for Storytelling which surpassed $13 million at the box office; and Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya, which garnered multiple Academy Award nominations, one win for Allison Janney and amassed over $30 million in domestic box office.
NEON’s recent acquisitions include Venice’s Grand Jury Prize Winner Michel Franco’s New Order; Night of Kings, Philippe Lacôte’s Ivory Coast Oscar Submission; Pablo Larraín’s Spencer starring Kristen Stewart; Pig, starring Nicolas Cage; Francis Lee’s romantic drama Ammonite starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan; Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria with Tilda Swinton; and the documentary Gunda directed by Victor Kossakovsky and executive produced by Joaquin Phoenix.