NEON and Topic Studios have acquired the domestic rights to Luce, the thought-provoking, masterful feature from Julius Onah. Based on a play by JC Lee and shot on 35mm, Onah has delivered a gripping drama that features standout performances by Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Kelvin Harrison Jr, and Tim Roth. The film has garnered rave reviews since its premiere on Sunday, receiving early praise for award-worthy performances and screenplay.
Amy and Peter Edgar (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) adopted their son Luce (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) from war-torn Eritrea ten years ago. Luce is now an all-star student athlete, beloved by everyone. After a series of encounters with his teacher, Harriet Wilson (Octavia Spencer), questions about who Luce really is begin to emerge. A thrilling psychological drama, Luce is a complex film that addresses identity, truth, individuality and race.
Filmmaker Julius Onah said, “It’s been a real thrill premiering Luce at Sundance. After hearing NEON’s passion and excitement for the film, I know there is no better partner. Tom Quinn and his entire team have shown a clear vision for Luce with great enthusiasm. I look forward to continuing the journey of this film with NEON and Topic Studios as we share this story and the amazing performances of my cast with the world.”
“It’s rare to find a project like Luce that deftly explores issues of identity in a smart, sophisticated way. It’s even more rare to find a home like NEON and Topic Studios, where our new partners are both passionate about the film and have the skill to capitalize on all the strengths of Julius’ nuanced thriller. This is an exciting chapter for all of us and we look forward to collaborating with NEON and Topic Studios in bringing this film to audiences everywhere,” said producer John Baker and executive producer Rob Feng.
Julius Onah directs and co-wrote with JC Lee. John Baker, Julius Onah and Andrew Yang produced. Rob Feng, Amber Wang and JC Lee executive produced. Eric Ro co-produced.
The deal was negotiated by NEON and Topic Studios with CAA Media Finance and Endeavor Content on behalf of the filmmakers.
NEON recently premiered Todd Douglas Miller’s stunning cinematic event, Apollo 11 and John Chester’s The Biggest Little Farm at Sundance 2019. Luce marks NEON’s fourth acquisition at Sundance this year, having nabbed the rights to Alejandro Landes’ cinematic thriller, Monos, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s horror film, The Lodge and Abe Forsythe’s Little Monsters. NEON recently garnered an Academy Award nomination for Border and continues to acquire some of the most anticipated titles, including: Tom Harper’s Wild Rose starring Jessie Buckley; and Bong Joon-Ho’s highly-anticipated drama Parasite.
Topic Studios had several films at Sundance including Scott Z. Burns’ political thriller The Report starring Adam Driver, Annette Bening and Jon Hamm which sold to Amazon for $14M; Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas’s feature debut Pahokee which premiered to a rousing response in the U.S. Documentary Competition and Black 14, a documentary short from acclaimed filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe. Current feature projects at Topic Studios include Debra Granik’s award-winning and critically acclaimed Leave No Trace; the political documentary Dark Money, from director Kimberly Reed; Steven Soderbergh’s Panama Papers drama, The Laundromat, starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas; and the comedic drama The Climb from the filmmaking team of Michael Covino and Kyle Marvin. The Studio is also behind the documentary XY Chelsea, about the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst and trans woman Chelsea Manning, acquired by Showtime.