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One of the most talked-about movies at last year’s Telluride Film Festival is finally saddling up with a distributor.
Magnolia Pictures has acquired the North American rights to Bitterbrush, the documentary about two female range riders in the American West. The film, a production of Laurene Powell Jobs’ Concordia Studio and Wavelength, will arrive in theaters and on-demand June 24.
Directed by Emelie Mahdavian, Bitterbrush follows Hollyn Patterson and Colie Moline on their last summer herding cattle together in remote Idaho. Upon the film’s premiere at Telluride, THR called Bitterbrush a “portrait of against-the-elements fortitude; it poses piercing existential questions about purpose and independence, particularly for women choosing work that has long been deemed the exclusive province of men.”
Mahdavian, a Fulbright scholar whose 2016 documentary After the Curtain followed female dancers in Tajikistan, directed the movie while living off-grid herself for three years in Idaho. “That time in the rural American West changed my perspective on labor, womanhood and human relationships with the land,” Mahdavian said. “So, it was an honor to work with Hollyn and Colie to tell this story about hard work, sublime beauty, and ultimately, the importance of friendship in finding one’s place in the world.”
Bitterbrush is a Concordia Studio, Wavelength, Old Chilly Pictures production, produced by Su Kim and Emelie Mahdavian. Executive producers are Jobs, Davis Guggenheim, Joe Plummer, Jonathan Silberberg, Nicole Stott and Jenifer Westphal.
The deal was negotiated by Magnolia EVP Dori Begley and SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden, with Jason Ishikawa at Cinetic on behalf of the filmmakers.
“Bitterbrush is a beautiful story of two incredible characters set against the grandeur and mythos of the American West,” said Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles. “Emelie Mahdavian has fashioned a love letter to a vanishing way of life.”
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