Focus Features has acquired worldwide distribution rights on Nathalie Biancheri’s debut feature Wolf, which has completed principal photography in Dublin, Ireland this week.
Through a deal made with UK sales agent Bankside Films, Focus will distribute the title in the US, with parent company Universal Pictures distributing in its international territories through Universal Pictures International. The deal excludes Russia, Turkey, Taiwan, and the Middle East.
Wolf became the first film supported by Screen Ireland to complete production since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. It received €800,000 ($941,952) in production funding from Screen Ireland last summer.
Filming was set to begin in April before the pandemic arrived; it eventually got underway in late August.
The film has also confirmed Paddy Considine, Eileen Walsh, and recently-named Screen Star of Tomorrow Helen Behan as additional cast, alongside previously announced leads George MacKay and Lily-Rose Depp, plus Senan Jennings, Darragh Shannon, Elisa Fionuir, Lola Petticrew, Amy Macken, and Fionn O’Shea.
It follows a young man who believes he is a wolf trapped in a human body – a real-life condition known as species dysphoria. When sent to a clinic for treatment, he meets other patients with the same condition, who are forced to undergo extreme ‘curative’ therapies at the hands of cruel practitioner The Zookeeper.
The film is Biancheri’s third feature, after documentary I Was Here and drama Nocturnal, both in 2019. It is produced by Jessie Fisk through her and Biancheri’s Dublin-based Feline Films, and Jane Doolan through her Irish company Mammoth Films. Executive producers are Celine Haddad for Screen Ireland, Stephen Kelliher for Bankside Films, Phil Hunt and Compton Ross for Head Gear Films, the Polish Film Institute, and Eurimages.
“This project has been a huge part of myself and Nathalie’s lives for the last few years – we couldn’t have imagined the journey being quite so surreal,” said Fisk. “Focus came on board the project at a time where we felt we were trying to make the impossible happen in shooting the film during a pandemic and to have such enormous champions of cinema recognise the potential in Wolf was such wonderful motivation. With the support of Screen Ireland and the incredible cast and crew, Nathalie has truly created something very special in Wolf.”
“Screen Ireland is proud to support Wolf, not only for the creative strength and boldness of the project itself, but for the ingenuity the team behind the film have shown in getting production back up and running in such challenging circumstances,” added Haddad.