Neon Lands Rights to Philippe Lacôte’s Ivory Coast Oscar Submission, "Night of The Kings"

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NEON has acquired US rights to Philippe Lacôte's sophomore feature, Night of the Kings.  The film recently premiered at the Venice Film Festival and will play at the Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival.

His debut feature Run, with Abdoul Karim Konaté and Isaach De Bankole, premiered in Cannes' Un Certain Regard section in 2014. Night of the Kings, which has been chosen as the Ivory Coast submission for this year's Academy Awards, marks Lacôte's second collaboration with Konaté and stars newcomer Koné Bakary. 

Night of the Kings follows a young man on his first night in the infamous Ivorian prison, "La Maca." Upon arriving, he is christened the "Roman," or "Storyteller," and must entertain his audience until morning, risking death should he fail. Under a blood-red moon, he crafts a tale weaving together the country's mythological past and recent history, while around him, both prison and national politics threaten to boil over. 


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Lacôte wrote and directed the film which stars Koné Bakary, Steve Tientcheu, Rasmane Ouedraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Abdoul Karim Konate, Anzian Marcel, Laetitia Ky and Denis Lavant. It's produced by Delphine Jaquet, Yanick Letourneau, Ernest Konan, Yoro Mbaye and Banshee Films, Wassakara Productions, Peripheria, and Yennenga Productions. 

Night of the Kings marks the third Oscar submission by the Ivory Coast.  The first was Black and White in Color in 1976, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.  The other film was Run, the debut feature by Philippe Lacôte. 

Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal for NEON with Emilie Georges and Mathieu Delaunay of Memento Films International on behalf of the filmmakers. Memento Films International is handling international sales. 


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Philippe Lacôte grew up in Abidjan near a movie theater – the «Magic». His work as a director has taken on several forms, before focusing in 2002 on the recent history of his country with ​Chronicles of War in the Ivory Coast, a film on the edge between a documentary and a diary. It is followed by the ​feature film ​Run, the story of a wandering madman, selected in Cannes Un Certain Regard 2014. This selection confirmed his talent as a filmmaker and revealed a new voice from the African continent. Night of the Kings (original title "La Nuit Des Rois"), his second feature, is a dive into the largest prison in West Africa, during a night of red moon.

Night of the Kings will be released by NEON, with plans to be announced at a later date.

ABOUT NEON

In just three years, NEON has garnered 12 Academy Award® nominations, 5 wins, including Best Picture, and has grossed over $150M 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.


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The film, which also unanimously won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, has amassed over $53M 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; Todd Douglas Miller's Apollo 11, 2019's highest grossing documentary with a worldwide gross of $16M; Tim Wardle's Three Identical Strangers, winner of the Sundance Special Jury Award for Storytelling which surpassed $13M at the box office; and Craig Gillespie's I, Tonya, which garnered multiple Academy Award® nominations, one win for Allison Janney and amassed over $30M in domestic box office.

The company continues to be an impressive force, with recent acquisitions such as: Pig, starring Nicolas Cage; Brandon Cronenberg's Possessor; 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 Viktor Kossakovsky and executive produced by Joaquin Phoenix.  Recent releases include: Max Barbakow's sought after Palm Springs starring Andy Samberg, which NEON acquired with Hulu.


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Amy Seimtz's SXSW critical sensation She Dies Tomorrow; Josephine Decker's Shirley starring Elisabeth Moss; Matt Wolf's highly acclaimed Sundance documentary Spaceship Earth across an innovative footprint of both traditional and non-traditional venues; The Painter and the Thief directed by Benjamin Ree; the critically acclaimed Cannes hit Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes® and Independent Spirit Awards; Alejandro Landes' cinematic thriller Monos (the Colombian selection for the Academy Awards®); Julius Onah's Luce starring Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer; Tom Harper's Wild Rose starring Jessie Buckley; John Chester's The Biggest Little Farm; Chinonye Chukwu's Clemency starring Academy Award® Nominee Alfre Woodard; and the electrifying documentary about Aretha Franklin, Amazing Grace.  

After their successful collaboration on I, Tonya in January 2018, 30WEST (Dan Friedkin's and Micah Green's strategic venture) partnered with NEON's Tom Quinn (Founder & CEO) and Tim League (Co-Founder) to become majority investors in the company.

 

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