We weren’t too impressed by Kristen Stewart’s latest dramatic venture, the Guantanamo-set drama Camp X-Ray, when it bowed at the Sundance Film Festival last month (nor were a fair number of critics, judging by the film’s current 56% Rotten rating on aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes), but the film has landed a distributor all the same. IFC Films announced earlier today that they have inked a deal to distribute the film for North American audiences.
In an official statement, Sundance Selects/IFC Films President Jonathan Sehring roundly praised the film, saying:
Peter Sattler has made a stirring, sensitive and thought-provoking film that features two powerhouse performances by Payman Maadi and Kristen Stewart. Maadi proves once again that he is a force to be reckoned with and Stewart undoubtedly gives the best and most moving performance of her already remarkable career.
The film, which focuses on the unusual relationship between Stewart’s Gitmo prison guard and Maadi’s detainee, marked Sattler’s directorial debut. In her two-and-a-half-star review of Camp X-Ray, WGTC critic Emily Estep called the film “one of the noteworthy disappointments of Sundance 2014,” concluding that:
While it does have its moments, there’s a lot of wasted potential here, as Camp X-Ray falls flat when attempting to approach larger issues of human rights. Instead, it relies on pop culture references and cheesy metaphors to speak for its characters.
Despite mixed reviews, IFC’s keenness in picking up the rights doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given the loyal fanbase Stewart accumulated during her five-film stint as the star of the blockbuster Twilight franchise. Whatever the film’s quality, her supporters will likely ensure Camp X-Ray makes more than enough to justify distribution and marketing costs.
Camp X-Ray wasn’t IFC’s only acquisition at Sundance either. The studio also picked up rights to Jim Mickle’s Cold in July and John Slattery’s God’s Pocket, the latter of which stars the late, lamented Philip Seymour Hoffman. Meanwhile, sister label IFC Midnight grabbed rights to The Babadook, a psychological horror flick from Jennifer Kent.
Are you interested in checking out Camp X-Ray, despite the film’s poor reception? Let us know below.