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Normally, the cycle of hype for indie films goes as follows: go to Sundance, get hyped, win a couple awards and secure a distribution deal that plans your release date just in time for awards season later in the year. It's proven, it works, and it's what we're used to. But leave it to Netflix to completely shake this model up, as they just happened to pick up the Sundance Grand Jury winner before the awards were even announced!
That's right, you'll be able to see I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore as of February 24th, courtesy of Netflix's streaming service! The film stars Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood, and focuses on a woman (Lynskey) who becomes a sort of detective / vigilante after her home has been robbed. Wood co-stars as her sidekick / hype man, and couldn't be more nutty if he tried, which is just how we like Elijah Wood these days. Now you might be asking, why the quick turnaround? Well, as it turns out, director Macon Blair's offbeat mystery / comedy went into Sundance with distribution already in place. So the battle was already won before the film was awarded this year's Sundance Grand Jury prize.
This might look like a shot in the dark, but there's probably one person you could thank for this chain of events: Nate Parker. When his film, The Birth of a Nation took Sundance by storm last year, Netflix was in the bidding to acquire the title's distribution rights. Of course, as the story goes, that offering was rejected in favor of a $17.5 million price tag paid by Fox Searchlight, who went on to theatrically distribute the film. While the hype fizzled out, due to a combination of reaction to the film, as well as some personal matters in Parker's history, you can bet that Netflix was steamed that their reputation as a means of mainstream distribution suffered a slight ding.
There's no word on what the sum offered was, however that's not the point. The point is I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore impressed the folks at Netflix enough that they wanted in on the ground floor. Whether their intent was to chase prestige glory or not is unknown, but what is known is that they lucked out on acquiring the film before this big achievement. Looking at the official trailer for the film, it's not hard to see why this was such a good find, as Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood look like they're about to embark on a journey into the seedy, and darkly comic, underbelly of local crime.
I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore will start sifting through the clues on February 24th, only on Netflix.