Sundance: IFC Films Nabs 'The Nightingale' From 'Babadook' Director Jennifer Kent

The Nightingale Still 1 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

Sam Claflin and 'Game of Thrones' actor Aisling Franciosi star in the period drama.

IFC Films is reteaming with Jennifer Kent for her folllow-up to her acclaimed horror The Babadook. IFC has nabbed the U.S. rights to Kent's The Nightingale, which will have its North American premiere at Sundance Film Festival.

The period feature follows Clare, played by Game of Thrones actor Aisling Franciosi, a 21-year-old Irish convict in 1820s Tasmania, who, having served her seven-year sentence, is desperate to be free of her abusive master, Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin), who refuses to release her from his charge. Clare’s husband, Aidan, retaliates and she becomes the victim of a harrowing crime at the hands of the lieutenant and his cronies.

Unable to secure justice from the British authorities, Clare decides to pursue Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a captaincy up north. She is forced to enlist the help of a young Aboriginal tracker, Billy (newcomer Baykali Ganambarr), who grudgingly takes her through the rugged wilderness to track down Hawkins. 

Lisa Schwartz, co-president of IFC Films said, “The Babadook was one of our most successful acquisitions at IFC and we could not be happier to continue our partnership with Jennifer on her next feature. She is undoubtedly one of the most talented writer-directors working today and we can’t wait to share The Nightingale with audiences across the country.”

Kent added: “IFC is the perfect choice for The Nightingale. I have a lot of faith in them after working together on The Babadook and seeing firsthand how much they support and respect their filmmakers."

Bruna Papandrea produced via her Made Up Stories banner, along with Kristina Ceyton, Steve Hutensky and Kent. Executive produces are Brenda Gilbert, Jason Cloth, Aaron L. Gilbert, Ben Browning and Alison Cohen.

Causeway Films and Made Up Stories are behind the production, which had principal investment from Screen Australia in association with Bron Creative, and was financed with support from Screen Tasmania, South Australian Film Corporation, Kojo Productions and the Adelaide Film Festival.

Endeavor Content negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales.