Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and Films We Like announced today the co-acquisition of North American rights to sci-fi epic The Congress from this year's Cannes Film Festival in the "Directors' Fortnight" section. From Oscar-nominated director Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir), the film stars Robin Wright (House of Cards, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Jon Hamm (AMC's Mad Men), Paul Giamatti (Sideways, John Dies at the End) and Harvey Keitel (Taxi Driver, Bad Lieutenant). A US theatrical and VOD/digital release is planned for 2014 and Films We Like in Toronto will handle Canadian distribution. US fans who enroll in the "Drafthouse Alliance" subscription program can guarantee pre-order of the film here: DrafthouseFilms.com/Alliance.
Based on legendary science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem's 1971 novel The Futurological Congress, Folman's adaptation blends live action and psychedelic animation as an aging, out-of-work actress (Wright in an unusual role playing an alternate reality version of herself) accepts her final job: preserving her digital image for a future Hollywood. 20 years later, Wright's digital double rises to immortal stardom and is invited to take part in The Congress as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema.
Empire Magazine proclaims it "an extraordinary and very touching film that exists somewhere in the twilight zone between the existential brainteasers of Charlie Kaufman and the psychedelic wonders of Hayao Miyazaki." Highlighting the film's satirical look at modern Hollywood, Ben Kenisberg for RogerEbert.com adds "[The Congress] is lyrical and mysterious, contemplating age-old sci-fi questions (of artificial intelligence, of perception versus reality) while grafting them onto a commentary about the changing nature of movies."
Director Ari Folman released the following statement regarding the acquisition.
Here's what Drafthouse Films CEO Tim League had to say about the project in a statement.
Ron Mann of Films We Like also released the following statement.
The Match Factory Managing Director Michael Weber released his own statement.
The deal was negotiated by Tim League and James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Brigitte Suárez and Michael Weber of The Match Factory on behalf of the film's producers.
The Congress comes to theaters August 29th, 2014 and stars Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Danny Huston, Sami Gayle, Michael Stahl-David. The film is directed by Ari Folman.