Indie Rowing Drama ‘Swing’ Starring Michael Shannon Scores U.S. Deal With Vertical Entertainment

EXCLUSIVE: Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American distribution rights to Swing, the indie coming-of-age drama set in the world of elite rowing. Michael Mailer directed and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon stars in the film, which is getting a fall theatrical platform release after a planned festival run.

The screenplay is from Vojin Gjaja, a former armor officer in the U.S. Army who was an oarsman at Columbia University. Set in in 1999, it centers on a group of friends and crew teammates in their last year at an Ivy League college whose lives are changed forever when an Army veteran (Shannon) takes over as coach of their dysfunctional rowing team. Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton and Alex MacNicoll also star along with Ash Santos, Lilly Krug and David James Elliott.

Daniel Dávila, Lucas Jarach, Gjaja, Robert Ogden Barnum, Frank Buchs, Shannon and Byron Wetzel produced Swing, whose executive producers include Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss, who rowed for Harvard and subsequently Team USA at the 2008 Olympics. The film was produced by Eightboat Productions and Construction Film in association with Divisadero Pictures, Green Light Pictures and 120dB Films.

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This deal marks she second tie-up between Mailer and Vertical, which in 2016 released Mailer’s directorial debut Blind starring Alec Baldwin, Demi Moore and Dylan McDermott.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to bring Swing to audiences across the country,” Vertical CEO Peter Jarowey said. “Swing is a story of brotherhood, rivalry and family pressure led by the talented Michael Shannon as the team’s coach. It is a pleasure to work with Director Michael Mailer on this film and share such a poignant story.”

Jarowey and Josh Spector negotiated the deal for Vertical with CAA’s Nick Ogiony on behalf of the filmmakers.

Earlier this month, another indie rowing pic landed a U.S. deal when writer-director Lauren Hadaway’s Tribeca Film Festival winner The Novice was acquired by IFC Films. That movie stars Isabelle Fuhrman as a woman who joins her university’s rowing team and undertakes an obsessive physical and psychological journey to make it to the top varsity boat.

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