NEON, the distributor behind Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire and The Lodge, has acquired Sundance award winner The Painter and the Thief, a documentary about the unlikely connection between a painter and the thief who stole her work.
The film, directed by Benjamin Ree, won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling at this year’s Sundance. In the documentary, two thieves lift Barbora Kysilkova’s paintings from an Oslo art gallery. Authorities arrest the thieves, but do not recover the paintings. “Hoping to learn what happened, Barbora approaches one of the thieves, Karl-Bertil Nordland, at his criminal hearing. She asks if she can paint his portrait and, contrite, he agrees. What follows—over a series of portraits and many years—is an extraordinary story of human connection and friendship,” according to the film’s synopsis.
Many of NEON’s latest acquisitions have resonated with audiences and critics. The history-making Parasite won awards for Best Picture, Directing, International Feature Film and Original Screenplay at the 92nd Academy Awards, and has grossed $205 million in global box office sales, including around $50 million in the United States, according to THR. Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire took home Best Screenplay at Cannes. And another NEON film, I, Tonya, earned Allison Janney an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2018.
A theatrical release date for The Painter and the Thief has not yet been announced.