Language lessons, Natalie Morales’ directorial debut that was a hit in South by Southwest (SXSW) this year, has picked up distribution in the United States. After its world premiere at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, the film was screened at SXSW last month, where it won an audience award.
Noticing the success of Language lessons, Call! Studios have picked up the North American rights to the film. The plan now is to release the film in additional theaters and other platforms later this year through the deal that also includes digital, VOD, broadcast and home entertainment rights. It is not yet clear when the company will roll out the distribution plans for the position.
“Shout! Has held a special place in my heart long since the release of my first show, The Middleman. What can I say? They’ve always had a good eye, and they’ve always supported the little guy.,” Said Morales said in a statement: “I am thrilled that they are the ones who will bring this movie about connecting to a wider audience at a time when I think we could all use it.”
Jordan Fields added, VP Acquisitions at Shout! Studios: “Language Lessons is a masterfully acted, sharply crafted and extraordinarily entertaining portrait of friendship by Natalie and Mark. It leaves you hopeful that true human connection can flourish in the unpleasant world of screens.”
Language lessons follows Adam (Mark Duplass), whose husband surprises him with a gift of weekly Spanish lessons for a year. But when tragedy strikes, his teacher, Cariño (Natalie Morales), becomes a lifeline he didn’t know he needed, and the two develop an unexpected and complicated emotional bond. In addition to directing and leading role, Morales also produced with Duplass and Jay Duplass. Mel Eslyn produced.
“We are so humbled by the response to our little film, but it was Shout’s unwavering passion and innovative strategy! That ultimately convinced us,” Mark Duplass said in a statement. In a follow-up tweet, he added, “Now you can all see LANGUAGE CLASSES later this year!”
“I am thrilled to be working again with Mark and Mel, iconic storytellers and filmmakers, for this award-winning and very special film,” said Julie Dansker, Shout’s Head of New Content Sales. “Mark and Natalie’s performances are stunning and we are so excited to share Natalie’s incredibly impressive and refreshing directorial debut with the audience.”
Language lessons is the directorial debut of Morales, appearing in shows like Dead to me and Plan BDuplass, known for The morning show and Room 104wrote the screenplay. The feature includes original music from Gaby Moreno. The film was shot in secret during the pandemic and was developed with the help of a small skeleton staff in Los Angeles and Costa Rica.
There are always great movies coming out of SXSW every year, and the tradition continues with the 2021 online event. Watch out for the release of Language lessons to see why those attending the virtual SXSW were so pleased. This news comes from Variety.
Subjects: SXSW, Shout Factory, Language Lessons