I can only name two female-fronted Westerns off the top of my head, and neither of them is particularly impressive. The first is Raimi's The Quick And The Dead, which is kind of worth it to see a cocky, young Leonardo DiCaprio get blown away – a sort of penance-in-advance for Titanic. And then, of course, there's Bad Girls, and the less said on that, the better.
Fast forward to TIFF this year, and Drafthouse Films sees Daniel Barber's The Keeping Room – a revisionist Western starring Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld and Sam Worthington, set at the end of the American Civil War that follows three tough women defending the homestead. There's an effortless reversal of so many Western genre tropes at play and they felt they needed it on the roster. While they've already got a few Westerns in spirit (Wake In Fright, A Field In England and even, arguably, Borgman), they don't have any actual "traditional" Westerns. And while it's easily typified by its genre pinnings, The Keeping Room hits a number of unique notes that seem to qualify for a Drafthouse Films release, and now it's part of the family.
The Keeping Room will head to theaters next September. Check out the full press release below.
DRAFTHOUSE FILMS CAPTURES TIFF STANDOUT, THE KEEPING ROOM
Black List Stunner starring Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld and Sam Worthington to be released theatrically nationwide in Fall 2015
AUSTIN, TEXAS (December 15, 2014) — Drafthouse Films has acquired US distribution rights to Julia Hart’s powerful Black List Western feature, The Keeping Room, after its acclaimed world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. Expertly directed by Daniel Barber (Harry Brown), The Keeping Room focuses on the violent resilience and dramatic camaraderie of three Southern women as their home is besieged during the purges at the close of the American Civil War. Forced to defend their land and fight for their lives, the women take up arms against their male oppressors, shattering gender and genre conventions in the process.
A forceful turn from Brit Marling (Arbitrage, I Origins) heads a formidable trio of female leads that includes Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Ender’s Game) and newcomer Muna Otaru in a powerful break out role. Playing against his usual character, Sam Worthington (Avatar, Man On A Ledge), excels as a villainous renegade soldier intent on killing the women and razing their home.
Based on Julia Hart’s revered 2012 Black List screenplay, The Keeping Room deliberately eschews Hollywood Western tropes and challenges gender politics as the female protagonist is defined in brave and provocative fashion. Described as “a feminist western with bite” (Indiewire) and “a beautifully breathless revisionist western” midway between Cold Mountain and Straw Dogs (Little White Lies), The Keeping Room is unflinching filmmaking anchored in the “bold and fearless” performances (Film School Rejects) delivered by its lead women.
“The Keeping Room is a film that instantly resonated with us on so many levels,” said James Emanuel Shapiro, Drafthouse Films COO. “Not only is it filmmaking of the highest level but it challenges formulas with such convictions that we were all affected by its potency.”
"We could not ask for a better partner than Drafthouse for The Keeping Room,” said producer Jordan Horowitz. “As with everything they do, we look forward to a theatrical release that is classy, energetic, passionate, and a whole lot of fun." to be released theatrically nationwide in Fall 2015.
The Keeping Room will open in an expansive theatrical release across North America in September 2015 and will be released on a variety of VOD platforms and digital, DVD, and Blu-ray formats after its theatrical run.
The Keeping Room is a production of Wind Dancer Films, Gilbert Films and Anonymous Content and was produced by Jordan Horowitz, Judd Payne, Matt Williams, David McFadzean, Dete Meserve and Patrick Newall. Executive Producers are Gary Gilbert and Michael Sugar. The deal was negotiated by WME Global on behalf of the producers and James Emanuel Shapiro and Tim League from Drafthouse Films.