Strand Releasing announced that it has acquired all North American rights to Braden King’s THE EVENING HOUR, which had its World Premiere in Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and its International Premiere in Competition at the 2020 Rotterdam Film Festival. The deal was negotiated by Eric Sloss of Cinetic and Jon Gerrans, Co-President of Strand Releasing. 

King is represented for commercials by Washington Square Films. He has helmed spots for such top brands as Microsoft, Samsung, American Airlines, Spectrum, ESPN, Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola. In addition to his film and commercial work, he has also directed music videos for top artists including Sonic Youth, Glen Hansard, Laurie Anderson, Yo La Tengo, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (Will Oldham), Dirty Three, Cat Power, Sparklehorse and Giant Sand.

Notes Washington Square Films Director of Sales & Marketing/Managing Director Jonathan Schwartz, “We are thrilled for Braden. It’s a beautiful film and really speaks to his storytelling skills and his talent working with actors.”

The atmospheric crime drama stars Philip Ettinger in a breakout performance as Cole Freeman, who maintains an uneasy equilibrium in his declining Appalachian mining town, looking after the old and infirm in the community while selling their excess painkillers to local addicts to help make ends meet. But when his old friend, Terry Rose (Cosmo Jarvis, Lady Macbeth), returns with dangerous plans that threaten the fragile balance Cole has crafted, his world and identity are thrown into disarray. Cole's life is further complicated by the sudden homecoming of his estranged mother, Ruby (Lili Taylor, The Conjuring), and his shifting relationships with two local women, Charlotte (Stacy Martin, Vox Lux) and Lacy (Kerry Bishé, Halt and Catch Fire). 

THE EVENING HOUR also stars Michael Trotter (National Geographic’s The Right Stuff), Marc Menchaca (The Outsider, Ozark), Ross Partridge (Stranger Things) and Tess Harper (No Country for Old Men, Tender Mercies). 

The screenplay, adapted from Carter Sickels’ celebrated novel, was written by Elizabeth Palmore. The film was produced by Lucas Joaquin for Secret Engine, Derrick Tseng, and Braden King for Truckstop Media. Additional Producers included Tim White for Star Thrower Entertainment and Tom Skapars. Andrea Cannistraci, Esq., of Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams and Sheppard served as finance, production and sales counsel. Foreign sales are being handled by Fabien Westerhoff at Film Constellation.

THE EVENING HOUR screened at festivals throughout the world in 2020, most recently including the Athens International Film and Video Festival, the Mill Valley Film Festival and the 38th Torino Film Festival, where it was the only American film selected to screen in Competition.

In his Sundance review for The Playlist, Joe Blessing called THE EVENING HOUR “a quietly powerful portrait of a young man forced to make impossible decisions in a landscape torn apart by forces larger than himself… Cole’s moral turmoil is compelling throughout this complex study of a character and the landscape that shaped him.” 

Wendy Ide of Screen International added, “THE EVENING HOUR takes an empathetic view of the opioid crisis and life in a poverty-blighted, post-industrial community in small-town America… Thematically there are parallels with the hard-nosed desperation of Winter’s Bone, but in the execution, there’s an almost romantic quality.” 

This acquisition marks a reunion between Braden King and Strand Releasing. The company previously distributed King’s critically acclaimed, Armenia-set road movie, HERE, starring Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal.

“Strand is thrilled to be working with Braden again on THE EVENING HOUR. He’s a friend and colleague who has always been a collaborator, whether working on his own films or supporting our other filmmakers. His vision is so uniquely in line with the artists and work that we admire most,” said Marcus Hu, Co-President of Strand Releasing.

“It’s an honor and a great pleasure to be working with Marcus, Jon and Strand Releasing again. That THE EVENING HOUR has found a home among the stellar, timeless films Strand has released throughout its history stands as a testament to the dedication, hard work and honesty the film’s cast and crew all brought to it. I couldn’t be happier that Strand will be caring for this story, crafted in deep collaboration with the community in and around Harlan, KY who opened their hearts and home to us so generously and completely, said Director Braden King.

Strand Releasing plans for a spring 2021 release. 

Strand Releasing recently celebrated their 30th Anniversary with 30/30 Vision, a program of original films by filmmakers such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Cindy Sherman, John Waters, Catherine Breillat, Christophe Honore and Gregg Araki.  Current releases include: Majid Majidi’s SUN CHILDREN, Hong Khaou’s MONSOON starring Henry Golding and Catherine Gund’s AGGIE. Strand is based in Culver City, CA and run by Gerrans and Hu. 

About Washington Square Films
Over its 15-year tenure, Washington Square Films has grown to be considered one of the most respected production companies in the industry. Boasting a sharp eye for talent, a high level of integrity and a discriminating downtown New York sensibility, the company has produced award-winning independent films and commercials, as well as forged a thriving entertainment management division. On any given day, the seasoned producers and managers at Washington Square Films are likely to be working with some of the most revered actors and promising directors in the business.

From its headquarters on New York City’s Bowery, and satellite office in Los Angeles, the company manages and collaborates with an internationally recognized roster of writers, directors and A-list talent in entertainment and advertising. Washington Square Films receives regular accolades at The Academy Awards, Peabody Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, Golden Globes and Cannes Lions, along with selection for top International festivals such as Sundance, TIFF, New York Film Festival, Tribeca, Berlin and Locarno, and continues to break new ground in creative production.