Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Ralph Fiennes' The White Crow

[NEW YORK (AUGUST 13, 2018)] - Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all rights in North America, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Asia (excluding China, Japan, and Singapore), and Benelux from HanWay Films to Ralph Fiennes' THE WHITE CROW. Based on the book Rudolf Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanaugh, the film is directed by Fiennes and written by Academy Award® nominated David Hare (THE HOURS, THE READER.) HanWay Films, who is handling worldwide sales, also co-financed the film together with BBC Films and Rogue Black.

World-class ballet performer Oleg Ivenko stars as Rudolf Nureyev, alongside Adèle Exarchopoulos (BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR) as Clara Saint, and Fiennes as the famous Russian ballet coach, Alexander Pushkin. The cast also includes dancer Sergei Polunin, Chulpan Khamatova, Olivier Rabourdin, Raphaël Personnaz, and Louis Hofmann.

THE WHITE CROW captures the raw physicality and brilliance of Rudolf Nureyev, whose escape to the West stunned the world at the height of the Cold War. With his magnetic presence, Nureyev emerged as ballet's most famous star, a wild and beautiful dancer limited by the world of 1950s Leningrad. His flirtation with Western artists and ideas led him into a high-stakes game of cat and mouse with the KGB. The film offers a thrilling insight into Nureyev's dangerous defection, masterminded by the dancer's great friend, a 21-year-old Parisian, Clara Saint. In an astonishing finale at Le Bourget airport in Paris, THE WHITE CROW leaps to freedom, and in so doing defines his destiny.

The film reunites Michael Barker and Tom Bernard with Fiennes, who previously appeared in Sony Pictures Classics' SPIDER, THE WHITE COUNTESS, and INVISIBLE WOMAN, the last of which he also directed.

"I'm really delighted to be reuniting with Michael Barker and Tom Bernard and the team at Sony Pictures Classics. It's been a huge challenge to make this film and there's no question that with their vast experience with such a wide range of films, SPC is the right home for THE WHITE CROW. It's great news," stated Ralph Fiennes.

Said Sony Pictures Classics, "Ralph Fiennes has fully captured the times and early life of Rudolph Nureyev in the most thrilling way possible with the pulsing energy of the man himself. Also, THE WHITE CROW is especially timely. From Nureyev's rich life experience in Russia and Paris to his suspenseful defection to the West, we are immersed in an authentic story we've never seen before. This is one of those rare movies that crosses so many borders culturally as a satisfying entertainment. We look forward to bringing Ralph's movie to the public."
HanWay Films MD Gabrielle Stewart added, "We are thrilled to be partnering with Sony Pictures Classics on the film. They have loved the project from the very start and THE WHITE CROW has all the hallmarks of a high-quality SPC release."

THE WHITE CROW was developed by BBC Films and Gabrielle Tana (THE DUCHESS, DANCER, PHILOMENA) who also produces with Carolyn Marks Blackwood through Magnolia Mae Films together with Fiennes through Lonely Dragon Productions, and François Ivernel (THE QUEEN, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, THE IRON LADY) through the French branch of his company, Montebello Productions. Artist and filmmaker Andrew Levitas (LULLABY, GEORGETOWN, THE ART OF GETTING BY) produces and finances through his companies Metalwork Pictures and Rogue Black respectively.

The deal was negotiated between Sony Pictures Classics and Gabrielle Stewart for HanWay Films, with whom SPC has worked on many films over the years, including A DANGEROUS METHOD and ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE.

Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992—which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world. Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 39 Academy Awards® (35 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 169 Academy Award® nominations (147 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, WHIPLASH, AMOUR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, AND CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.

HanWay Films is a UK based international sales and marketing company specialising in quality, high-profile and commercially driven films from visionary and unique filmmakers around the world. Established in 1998 by producer Jeremy Thomas, HanWay offers full service solutions; arranging financing, sales, marketing and distribution. HanWay Films has long-term global producing partnerships and represents films from Recorded Picture Company along with projects from third party producers as well as the rights to an extensive film catalogue of over five hundred feature films.

HanWay's slate includes Kim Nguyen's high-speed drama THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT starring Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård, and Salma Hayek which will have its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival; Reinaldo Marcus Green's Sundance award winner MONSTERS AND MEN, and Wash Westmoreland's COLETTE starring Keira Knightley and Dominic West both that will be included in Official Selection at the Toronto International Film Festival; Ralph Fiennes' Nureyev thriller THE WHITE CROW; Matteo Garrone's PINOCCHIO and DOGMAN (UK rights) which screened in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival and will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival. HanWay Films also represents Lone Scherfig's NEW YORK PROJECT; Giuseppe Capotondi's THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY; Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's FARMING starring Damson Idris, Kate Beckinsale and Gugu Mbatha-Raw; Alistair Banks Griffin's THE WOLF HOUR starring Naomi Watts; James D'Arcy's heart-warming comedy MADE IN ITALY; Claire McCarthy's BURNING SEASON starring Naomi Watts and Sophia Lillis; SWEETNESS IN THE BELLY from director Zeresenay Mehari; Sebastian Schipper's ROADS (fka CARAVAN); and currently on release, Oliver Parker's SWIMMING WITH MEN; Haifaa Al Mansour's MARY SHELLEY; and Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire's A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN.

BBC Films is at the forefront of independent filmmaking in the UK, developing and co-producing around twelve films a year. In 2015 BBC Films was awarded the BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema. Rose Garnett is the Director of BBC Films.
Upcoming theatrical releases include Idris Elba's directorial debut Yardie and The Children Act featuring Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci, both to be released at the end of August.

Their upcoming slate at fall festivals includes Joanna Hogg's The Souvenir starring Tilda Swinton and executive produced by Martin Scorsese which makes its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and Stan & Ollie starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly which will be the closing night film at the BFI London Film Festival. Peter Strickland's ghost story In Fabric starring Oscar nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Out of Blue directed by Carol Morley and starring Patricia Clarkson will world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Current and recent releases include the critically acclaimed Apostasy directed by first time filmmaker Daniel Kokotajlo, The Happy Prince , written, directed by and starring Rupert Everett and On Chesil Beach starring Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle. Other titles on their slate include Chiwetel Ejiofor's directorial debut The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, The White Crow directed by Ralph Fiennes, His House by first-time UK writer/director Remi Weekes, Monsoon written/directed by Hong Khaou and starring Henry Golding, Sacha Polak's Dirty God, Scott Graham's We Don't Talk About Love and Judy directed by Rupert Goold and starring Renee Zellweger as the iconic Judy Garland.

About Sony Pictures Entertainment
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