Sundance Selects Acquires Ethan Hawke’s ‘Blaze’

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Benjamin Dickey and Alia Shawkat appear in BLAZE, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Steve Cosens.

Sundance Selects announced on Tuesday that it has acquired the US rights to “Blaze,” a film directed by Ethan Hawke.

The film premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, and tells the story of Outlaw Country singer/songwriter Blaze Foley. In addition to directing, Hawke co-wrote the script with Foley’s wife, Sybil Rosen. It is based on her memoir, “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley.”

The film stars Ben Dickey in his feature film debut. Dickey won the Special Jury Award for Achievement in Acting. He is a musician, and does his own singing in the film, but has never performed onscreen. Alia Shawkat (“Arrested Development”) stars as Sybil Rosen. Josh Hamilton, Charlie Sexton, Richard Linklater, Sam Rockwell, and Steve Zahn also appear in the film in the form of friends and record producers.

In announcing the deal, IFC Films/Sundance Selects Co-Presidents Jonathan Sehring and Lisa Schwartz said:

“Ethan has long been a valued member of the IFC Films family and we could not be prouder or more passionate to be partnering with him once more on this fantastic film.  With Ethan’s most ambitious and exciting work as a writer/director, the story of Blaze Foley has been brought to life with extraordinary performances by newcomer Ben Dickey, Alia Shawkat and a supremely talented group of collaborators across the board. We can’t wait to share the film with audiences across the country.”

Hawke added his sentiments:

“‘Blaze’ was made with a tremendous amount of love and duct tape by all of the people involved. Joining forces with Jonathan Sehring and IFC/Sundance Selects is a natural continuation of the spirit with which the film was made. IFC released ‘Boyhood’ and ‘Seymour: An Introduction,’ two of the most near perfect artistic experiences I’ve had. Jonathan’s passion and commitment to this film made this an obvious marriage.”

There is no word yet on when or how “Blaze” will be distributed. More information will follow.