Alicia Vikander-James McAvoy Film 'Submergence' Lands at Samuel Goldwyn Films (Exclusive)

Courtesy of TIFF
'Submergence'

The Wim Wenders-helmed romance made its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, where it received strong reviews.

Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired U.S. rights to Wim Wenders' Submergence.

James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander star In the globe-trotting romance pic that follows two storylines that become intertwined. On the eastern coast of Africa, an Englishman named James Moore (McAvoy) is held captive by jihadist fighters. Thousands of miles away in the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders (Vikander) prepares to dive in a submersible to the ocean floor. In their confines they are drawn back to the Christmas of the previous year, where a chance encounter on a beach in France led to an intense and enduring romance. Erin Dignam wrote the screenplay, which is based on J.M. Ledgard's 2011 novel.

Submergence came into the Toronto Film Festival with several distributors having made bids, but UTA decided to wait until after the film's world premiere Sept. 10 to begin negotiations, which have carried on for the past two months. Samuel Goldwyn Films prevailed as the eventual winner. A source pegged the deal at seven figures.

A number of Wenders' films have crossed over with U.S. audiences, including Buena Vista Social Club. THR's review of Submergence called it "the most roundly satisfying fiction feature Wenders has made since, well, [1987's Wings of Desire]. More conventional than Wenders' best-loved work, it should manage to please some old fans while reaching, thanks to star power, younger moviegoers who've never heard of him."

“We were fortunate to see the film at its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival,” says Peter Goldwyn, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films. “We were moved by the story, direction and great performances of its talented cast. We look forward to bringing the film to the U.S. audience in 2018.”

Added Wenders: “Our film has global dimensions and shows all the beauty of our planet, but also its conflicts and violence. I had Dr. Martin Luther King’s words in capital letters on the front page of my script: 'You cannot drive out darkness with darkness. Only love can do that.' That’s why the love story is our driving element. I’m happy we’re in the hands of Samuel Goldwyn Films for our American release."

Cameron Lamb, David Atlan Jackson, Jean-Baptiste Babin, Uwe Kiefer, Joel Thibout, Wenders, Juan Gordon, Mikel Lejarza, Mercedes Gamero, Gilles Waterkeyn, Adrian Politowski and Martin Metz produced. Stephen Bowen, Jeff Kalligheri, Pilar Benito, Sarah Johnson, David Beal, Andrew Banks, Michael Giles, Buddy Patrick, Robert Ogden Barnum, Kevin Scott Frakes, Lisa Wolofsky and Andreas Pense executive produced.

Embankment Films is handling international sales.

The deal was negotiated by UTA Independent Group and Waterstone Entertainment’s Kalligheri.

Financing for the film was provided by National Bank of Canada and Cofiloisirs.

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