LONDON -- U.K. distrib Icon Film Distribution has unveiled its new slate following its re-launch last fall with the backing of New Sparta. Pics include "Kill the Trumpet Player," Don Cheadle's helming debut about jazz musician Miles Davis, and Lynn Shelton's comedy "Laggies," starring Keira Knightley.
The other acquisitions are thrillers "The Guest" and "Cold in July," musical "The Last Five Years," soccer drama "Next Goal Wins" and horror "The Babadook."
As well as helming "Kill the Trumpet Player," Cheadle ("Crash," "Hotel Rwanda") also stars in the project, playing Davis, alongside Ewan McGregor and Zoe Saldana. Cheadle co-wrote the script with Steven Baigelman ("Feeling Minnesota").
It tells the story of a few dangerous days in the life of Davis as he bursts out of his silent period and conspires with a Rolling Stone writer (McGregor) to steal back his music.
The film, which is in pre-production, is being sold by IM Global.
"Laggies" is a coming-of-age comedy built around three lives unexpected intertwined. Writer/director Shelton was critically acclaimed for her comedy "Your Sister's Sister" and Sundance Special Jury Prize winner "Humpday."
Knightley stars in her first comedy role alongside Chloe Grace Moretz ("Kick-Ass"), Sam Rockwell ("The Way, Way Back," "Seven Psychopaths") and Mark Webber ("Scott Pilgrim vs the World").
Content to remain in a permanent adolescence, 28-year-old Megan clings to her job as a sign flipper for her father's accounting company whilst her high-school friends get married and advance their careers. When her high-school boyfriend proposes unexpectedly, Megan panics and forgoes attending a professional-development retreat to hide, temporarily, at the home of her new 16-year-old friend, Annika, and her attractive, single dad.
Pic is being sold by The Solution.
"The Guest" is a genre-bending thriller from director Adam Wingard, writer Simon Barrett and producers Keith Calder and Jessica Wu, the team behind "You're Next," "V/H/S" and "V/H/S 2," and featuring "Downton Abbey" star Dan Stevens (pictured).
The film, which received its world premiere in the Midnight program at this year's Sundance, also stars Maika Monroe ("The Bling Ring"), Brendan Meyer (TV series "Mr Young") and Sheila Kelly ("Matchstick Men").
Stevens plays a soldier who returns home to visit a fallen comrade's family, but the perfect houseguest is not what he seems as a sinister chain of events unfold.
The pic is being sold by Hanway.
Thriller "Cold in July," described by one critic as a "superior piece of Texas pulp fiction" and based on the cult novel of the same name, is co-written and directed by Jim Mickle, whose previous film, "We Are What We Are," screened in the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes.
"Cold in July," which stars Michael C. Hall ("Dexter," "Kill Your Darlings," "Six Feet Under"), Sam Shepard ("August: Osage County") and Don Johnson ("Django Unchained"), was acquired for U.S. distribution by IFC Films last week. It is being sold by Memento Films Intl.
While investigating noises in his house one balmy Texas night in 1989, Richard Dane puts a bullet in the brain of low-life burglar Freddy Russell. Although he's hailed as a small-town hero, Dane soon finds himself fearing for his family's safety when Freddy's ex-con father, Ben, rolls into town, hell-bent on revenge.
"The Last Five Years," a musical based on the Off-Broadway hit by Tony Award-winning playwright Jason Robert Brown, is directed by Richard LaGravenese, who scored a U.K. box office hit with "PS I Love You."
Pic stars Anna Kendrick ("Pitch Perfect"), alongside Jeremy Jordan ("Joyful Noise," "Smash"), who was Grammy and Tony nominated for his stage performances. Currently in post-production, the film is being presented internationally by The Exchange.
The musical love story, which traces the love affair and marriage of Cathy (Kendrick), a struggling actress, and Jamie (Jordan), a rising novelist, is told through emotionally powerful and comedic songs from their individual perspectives. The story chronicles the five-year life of their marriage, from meeting to break up.
"Next Goal Wins" is a life-affirming story about the triumph of the underdog and the strength of the human spirit. Directed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, the film tracks the real-life story of the American Samoa soccer team, an international laughing stock having not won a single game in 10 years.
Following a 31-0 defeat to Australia, fiery maverick Dutch coach Thomas Rongen flies in to coach the team for their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign. What he finds is a shambles and he has just one month to transform the team of serial losers into a winning team.
The film is sold internationally by K5 International.
"The Babadook" is a Australian horror pic marking the directorial debut of writer/director Jennifer Kent. It stars Essie Davis (TV series "The Slap"), Daniel Henshall ("Snowtown") and new talent Noah Wiseman. Critically lauded following its Sundance Premiere it has been described as "hellishly intense" by Slashfilm and "expertly unsettling" by Time Out. The film is being presented internationally by eOne.
When 7-year-old Samuel asks his stressed-out single mother, Amelia, "Do you want to die?," she wonders if his question is a threat or a warning. After dealing with Samuel's frantic tantrums his entire life, Amelia suspects that her son has begun directing his violent misbehavior toward her. However, after a dark and foreboding children's book, called "Mister Babadook," mysteriously appears on Samuel's bookshelf, Amelia must decide if there really is a bogeyman lurking in their darkened halls at night.
Ian Dawson, CEO for Icon Film Distribution, said: "We are delighted to be able to bring seven quality, highly distinctive and original films to the U.K. and Ireland as we continue to build Icon Film Distribution, its team and its line-up."
Related storiesSundance: A24 Acquires 'Laggies,' Aims for a Summer ReleaseSundance Film Review: 'Laggies'Sundance: 'Laggies' Director Lynn Shelton Reflects on Rising Trajectory of Her Career 2014 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLCCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun