In advance of its world premiere tomorrow in competition at the Venice Film Festival, Oscar® nominee Ava DuVernay’s Origin has been acquired by award-winning studio NEON.
The film, which stars Oscar® nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Jon Bernthal, Niecy Nash-Betts, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Nick Offerman, Blair Underwood, Finn Wittrock, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, and Connie Nielsen, will also have a gala screening at the Toronto International Film Festival.
NEON, which won the worldwide rights in a competitive bid, plans to release the film in theaters across the country later this year.
DuVernay made history as the first African-American woman director in competition at the Venice Film Festival in its eighty-year history, writing, producing, and directing Origin, which is inspired by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson’s life and work as she writes her seminal book, Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents.
Isabel embarks on a global investigation and discovery journey while dealing with tremendous personal tragedy. Despite the monumental scope of her undertaking, she discovers beauty and bravery while creating one of the defining American books of our time.
Origin was produced by Paul Garnes and Ava DuVernay through her ARRAY Filmworks label. Origin’s creative team included cinematographer Matthew J. Lloyd, ASC, production designer Ina Mayhew, editor Spencer Averick A.C.E, composer Kris Bowers, costume designer Dominique Dawson, and casting director Aisha Coley, in addition to DuVernay and Garnes. Tom Quinn, representing NEON, negotiated the deal with CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers.
NEON CEO and Founder Tom Quinn said: “I’ve known Ava for a long time and my love and admiration for her and her work goes back further, even before Middle of Nowhere. I’m truly humbled that it is this movie which has finally brought us together. She has always been a gifted storyteller, and her mastery of her craft shines through in this deeply personal and inspired adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson’s book, and dramatization of her remarkable life. Origin proves once again that Ava remains one of the most groundbreaking and essential filmmakers of her generation.”
With Selma, DuVernay became the first Black woman to direct a film nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Picture, chronicling Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s visionary leadership during the historic 1965 civil rights marches.
She was nominated for an Oscar® for Best Documentary Feature for 13th, her in-depth look at the United States prison system and how it reveals the country’s history of racial inequality.
Her critically acclaimed limited series “When They See Us,” for which she directed all episodes, was nominated for 16 Emmys® in 2019. With her second feature, Middle of Nowhere, she became the first African American woman to win the Sundance Film Festival’s Best Director Award in 2012.
NEON is making waves in Venice following the world premiere of Michael Mann’s Ferrari, starring Adam Driver, Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Patrick Dempsey, and Jack O’Connell, which they will release in theaters on Christmas Day.
The studio’s Telluride and TIFF line-up includes Kitty Green’s The Royal Hotel starring Julia Garner; Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall; Alice Rohrwacher’s La Chimera; Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days which was recently selected as Japan’s entry for Best International Film; and Robot Dreams from Pablo Berger.
NEON received six Oscar® nominations this year, including those for Ruben Stlund’s Triangle of Sadness, The Quiet Girl, and the acclaimed documentaries All the Beauty and the Bloodshed and Fire of Love.
The studio has also won four consecutive Palme d’Or awards at the Cannes Film Festival with Parasite (2019); Titane (2021); Triangle of Sadness (2022); and Anatomy of a Fall (2023).