‘Sanctuary’ Producer On Indie Filmmaking As Sexy Psychological Thriller Opens In Limited Release; Paul Schrader’s ‘Master Gardener’ Debuts – Specialty Preview

As Sanctuary, Zachary Wigon’s twisted tale of a dominatrix and her wealthy client, opens in NY and LA, David Lancaster of producer Rumble Films recalls a speedy 18-day shoot on a custom-made set in Brownsville, Brooklyn in late summer of 2021. It was Covid, so not the easiest time for indie financing.

It world premiered in Toronto, Neon picked it up. Rumble is pretty prolific with projects including Whiplash, Night Crawler, Eye In The Sky, Drive and Donnybrook. It lost one project to a lack of pandemic insurance and more recently saw another fall away since it wouldn’t have been finished shooting by the end of June – when actor and director contracts expires and they could potentially be on strike alongside writers. “It’s a tricky world,” he said.

He’s in Cannes with eOne horror thriller Visitation by Nicolas Pesce starring Olivie Cooke and Isla Johnston that finished shooting in Dublin earlier this year.

Rumble skews to dark psychological dramas. This one is a cast of two starring Margaret Qualley as dominatrix and Christopher Abbott as Hal, her client, who tries to end their relationship as he’s about to inherit his late father’s position and fortune. When his attempt to cut ties backfires, disaster ensues. “It’s a sexy, f-cked up romantic comedy,” Lancaster says. Neon’s “clever with their marketing,” including a ‘What’s Your Safe Word?” social campaign and trailer.

“It was very one of the quickest turnarounds I’ve ever done. I got the script in late March and shot in August/September. What helped was the I’d worked with Margaret before and we kept in touch. I sent her the script, she read it overnight and said ‘I’m in.’ We put a package together and I was able to go out hard to the investor and say now or never” since both actors had hard outs.

Written by Micah Bloomberg.

A Rumble Films production with Charades, Mosaic Films and Hype Film. Opens in Lincoln Square and Angelika Film Center in New York, and Alamo Drafthouse Downtown LA, Burbank 16 and The Grove 14. Expands next weekend.

Magnolia Pictures opens Paul Schrader’s mystery thriller Master Gardener on 100 screens across major markets. Premiered in Venice, Deadline review here. Joel Edgerton is Narvel Roth, the meticulous horticulturist of Gracewood Gardens, devoted to tending the grounds of the historic estate and pandering to his wealthy dowager employer, played by Sigourney Weaver. When she demands that he take on her wayward great-niece Maya (Quintessa Swindell) as an apprentice, chaos enters Narvel’s spartan existence, unlocking dark secrets from a buried violent past.

Limited releases: Oscilloscope presents Ryan Stevens Harris’ Moon Garden at the IFC Center in NYC, expanding to Alamo Drafthouse Los Angeles next weekend. Opening weekend screenings at both venues in 35mm. Shot on expired 35mm film stock with vintage lenses, a fantastical odyssey about a little girl who has an accident, slips into a coma and is thrust into a darkly surreal industrial dreamworld.

Kino Lorber presents some magic realism with The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future, the debut feature of Chilean director Francisca Alegría, at the Quad Cinema in NYC. At LA’s Landmark Nuart next weekend, with other cities to follow. Premiered at Sundance. In the south of Chile, where fish are dying due to pollution from a nearby factory, Magdalena, a woman long-deceased, bubbles up to the surface gasping for air, bringing with her old wounds and a wave of family secrets. This shocking return sends her widowed husband into turmoil and prompts their daughter Cecilia to return home to the family’s dairy farm with her own children. Starring Mía Maestro (FridaThe Motorcycle Diaries), Leonor Varela (Sleep DealerBlade II), Alfredo Castro (Tony ManeroNo) and Enzo Ferrada Rosati.

Lightdox opens Srđan Keča’s documentary Museum of the Revolution at DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema. A visually lush and dreamlike doc about three women living in the remains of an abandoned utopian project of Socialist Yugoslavia, it explores Serbia’s turbulent transition into capitalism. World premiere at IDFA, screened at Hot Docs, and was awarded Best Feature at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.


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