Following a successful festival run and a French premiere last Fall, Lakota reservation-set drama Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015) has finalized a distribution deal with New York City-based Kino Lorber. The news is refreshing after last month’s announcement that a U.S. distributor had somehow still not signed on.
A nationwide theatrical release is planned for Spring 2016, starting with New York City’s Film Forum (209 West Houston St.) on Wednesday, March 2 – Tuesday, March 15.
Chloé Zhao‘s highly acclaimed feature debut depicts a complex portrait of modern-day life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Starring first-time actors John Reddy and Jashaun St. John, the story follows an Oglala Lakota teenager and his younger sister who find themselves on separate paths to rediscover the meaning of home.
“‘Songs’ soars with emotional resonances in an infinite landscape,” said Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber in an official statement. “We were entranced by Chloe’s characters pursuing their destinies in small but poignant ways against grand cinematic vistas. It’s a film to be cherished and we’re inspired to bring it to audiences nationwide.”
“I’m very excited and proud to partner with Kino Lorber for the release of my film,” added Zhao. “Their diverse slates of films have always been of great inspiration for me as a filmmaker.”
A 2015 Sundance Film Festival breakout, Songs was an official selection at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight where it received a standing ovation through the credits.
The film took home awards at the 2015 Jerusalem Film Festival, the 2015 Mumbai Film Festival, and the 2015 Festival International du Cinéma d’Alger. It also won “Best Picture,” “Best Director,” and “Outstanding Actress in the Leading Role” for Jashaun St. John at the 12th Red Nation Film Festival.
It is currently nominated for three 2016 Independent Spirit Awards in “Best First Feature,” “Best Cinematography,” and “Someone to Watch” for director Zhao.
In Spring 2015, the filmmakers teamed up with the South Dakota Film Festival and Pharrell Williams‘ iamOTHER to launch the Pine Ridge Youth Documentary Competition.
The film was distributed to French theaters by Diaphana Films, which acquired the rights immediately after Sundance.
Check New York City’s Film Forum for show times at filmforum.org. Check out the new U.S. trailer and clips below.