IFC Midnight announced today that it is acquiring North American rights to A BANQUET, the feature debut from Ruth Paxton, whose award-winning short films have been exhibited and nominated in competition at numerous prominent film festivals worldwide. A BANQUET is a visually arresting, slow-burning psychological horror that uses subtle supernatural elements to create tension within a family in the midst of a breakdown, exploiting the complicated bond between three generations of mothers and daughters.
The film stars Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil film series, High Rise), British rising stars Jessica Alexander (“Get Even”) and Ruby Stokes (Rocks, Una), and award-winning actress Lindsay Duncan CBE (Made in Italy, Private Lives). A BANQUET will be released by IFC Midnight in 2021.
Producers on the film are Leonora Darby, Mark Lane, and James Harris for Tea Shop Productions (47 Meters Down, I Am Not A Serial Killer), Nik Bower for Riverstone Pictures (Final Portrait, At Eternity’s Gate) and Laure Vaysse (Billie, 6 Minutes to Midnight) for REP Productions 8, which also funded the production. Deepak Nayar, co-founder of Riverstone Pictures, serves as Executive Producer, alongside Jeremy Baxter of Riverstone, Patrick Fischer and Richard Kondal of Creativity Capital, and screenwriter Justin Bull.
Widowed mother Holly (Sienna Guillory) is radically tested when her teenage daughter Betsey (Jessica Alexander) experiences a profound enlightenment and insists that her body is no longer her own, but in service to a higher power. Bound to her newfound faith, Betsey refuses to eat but loses no weight. In an agonizing dilemma, torn between love and fear, Holly is forced to confront the boundaries of her own beliefs.
Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films said, “We’ve had an outstanding year breaking out new voices in the horror genre, and we’ve never been more primed to bring Ruth Paxton and her brilliant and provocative feature debut to audiences across the country.”
Director Ruth Paxton added, “I’m thrilled to be partnering with such an established champion of independent cinema in IFC Films. It is daunting to be introducing my first feature with them considering they’ve previously supported many of my cinematic heroes; from Von Trier and Audiard to McQueen, Kent and Kurzel, but I’m incredibly excited and I can’t wait to launch A BANQUET with them!”
In 2020, IFC Midnight has introduced American audiences to some of the most exciting directorial debuts in the horror genre including; Natalie Erika James (Relic), Carlo Mirabella Davis (Swallow), Jennifer Reeder (Knives and Skin), Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe (Greener Grass), Dave Franco (The Rental), Egor Abramenko (Sputnik), Brett and Drew Pierce (The Wretched), and the upcoming films from Hannah Bergholm (A Hatching) and Keith Thomas (The Vigil). IFC Midnight has long championed the careers of breakout filmmakers such as Jennifer Kent (The Babadook, The Nightingale) and Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio, Duke of Burgundy).
The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films’ Director of Acquisitions Aijah Keith and Acquisitions Coordinator Adam Koehler with Hanway Films on behalf of the filmmakers.