Neon Takes Worldwide Rights on 'The Painter and the Thief'

The Painter and the Thief - Sundance - World DOCU - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Sundance

Directed by Benjamin Ree, it had its world premiere at Sundance where it won the world cinema documentary special jury prize for creative storytelling.

Neon on Monday said that it has acquired worldwide rights to The Painter and the Thief, a documentary directed by Benjamin Ree that had its world premiere at Sundance where it won the world cinema documentary special jury prize for creative storytelling.

Produced by Ingvil Giske and executive produced by Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, the doc tells "an extraordinary story of friendship, art and human connections." When two paintings by Czech naturalist Barbora Kysilkova were stolen from an Oslo art gallery, the thieves were quickly identified though the paintings were nowhere to be found.

Hoping to learn what happened, the artist reached out to one of the thieves, Karl-Bertil Nordland, asking to paint him. "What follows over a series of portraits and many years is an unlikely friendship," according to a description of the doc. "Using a structure that cleverly shifts perspectives, Norwegian filmmaker Benjamin Ree unfolds the fraught lives and vulnerabilities of two souls who come to recognize themselves in the other."

Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal for Neon along with Salma Abdalla from Autolook on behalf of the filmmakers.

Neon most recently made headlines with four Academy Award wins for Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, including for best picture.