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Roadside Attractions and Vertical Entertainment pick up Emily the Criminal from Sundance

Aubrey Plaza appears in Emily the Criminal by John Patton Ford, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Low Spark Films.

In heavy competitive bidding, Roadside Attractions and Vertical Entertainment won the North American rights to the Sundance 2022 critically-acclaimed thriller Emily the Criminal, with an original screenplay and directorial debut by John Patton Ford, starring and produced by Aubrey Plaza (Black Bear, Ingrid Goes West), and produced by Tyler Davidson (The Kings of Summer, Take Shelter), and Drew Sykes (Galveston, The Land). Plaza stars opposite Theo Rossi (American Skin, Army of the Dead) as well as Megalyn Echikunwoke (Late Night, Damsels in Distress), and Gina Gershon (Blockers,Bound). In a unique move, Redbox has joined the partnership for home entertainment distribution. The film is slated for a 2022 exclusive theatrical release.

You can read our review of the film here.

The film follows Emily (Plaza) who is saddled with student debt and locked out of the job market due to a minor criminal record. Desperate for income, she takes a shady gig as a “dummy shopper,” buying goods with stolen credit cards supplied by a handsome and charismatic middleman named Youcef (Rossi). Faced with a series of dead-end job interviews, Emily soon finds herself seduced by the quick cash and illicit thrills of black-market capitalism, and increasingly interested in her mentor Youcef. Together, they hatch a plan to bring their business to the next level in Los Angeles.

Check out our Sundance Film Festival coverage
Roadside Attractions’ Co-Presidents Howard Cohen & Eric d’Arbeloff remarked, “John Patton Ford’s propulsive thriller Emily The Criminal is a spectacular directing debut with a revelatory performance from Aubrey Plaza as a wildly entertaining antiheroine that recalls Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde.”

Vertical Entertainment’s Partner & CEO Peter Jarowey commented, “When we saw the film, we knew we had to have it. It is an exceptional story that is sure to excite and thrill audiences. We are excited to bring two long-standing collaborators in Roadside and Redbox together on one film that we care so deeply about. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

The filmmakers said in a joint statement, “We continue to believe in the importance of the theatrical experience and the power of watching movies together on a big screen and couldn’t be more excited and confident in our stellar partners at Roadside and Vertical to connect our film with audiences everywhere.”

The film was financed by Davidson’s Low Spark Films in association with Fear Knot Productions and produced by Plaza’s Evil Hag Productions and Low Spark. The film is executive produced by Kevin Flanigan, Dexter Braff, Angus Wall, Kent Kubena, Lowell Shapiro, and Mike Dill. The score was composed by Nathan Halpern, cinematography by Jeff Bierman, editing by Harrison Atkins, casting by Chelsea Ellis Bloch and Marisol Roncalli, costume design by Amanda Wing Yee Lee, and production design by Liz Toonkel.

Peter Jarowey negotiated the deal on behalf of Vertical Entertainment, Angel An negotiated the deal on behalf of Roadside Attractions, Marc Danon negotiated on behalf of home entertainment rights for Redbox Entertainment and CAA Media Finance, Verve Ventures, and ICM Partners negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

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