Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to U.S.-Icelandic co-production, Autumn Lights. The mystery drama will go out in a limited theatrical release on October 21 with a day-and-date VOD debut.
Autumn Lights is the story of an American photojournalist who uncovers mysterious secrets in rural Iceland. When he inadvertently becomes implicated in a crime scene, he sets out to investigate the landscape, where he meets an enigmatic married couple and becomes entangled in their seductive life.
The story was written and directed by the talented young filmmaker Angad Aulakh. It stars American up-and-comer Guy Kent in the lead role, alongside the Italian actress Marta Gastini, who rose to fame in The Rite with Anthony Hopkins and the three seasons of Borgia. Aulakh has written characters that are both philosophical and personal, and the actors have preserved their complexity by bringing restraint to the roles. Kent’s brooding loneliness and Gastini’s fickle flirtatiousness are perfect matches for an Icelandic wilderness that is simultaneously austere and transcendent. They respect the subtext. The viewer can only imagine the depth of feeling that boils beneath the surface.
It has been said of Spielberg and Kubrick that the one thing that unites their seemingly divergent styles is that they always know exactly what they want on set, and they get it. Working with Aulakh feels similar. He is a deeply reflective auteur, and he has a clear vision that never wavers throughout the film. It is an immersion in loss, both in the sense of losing someone and in the sense of being lost. It asks us to contemplate what loss really means, and whether it is possible in these moments of unhappiness to find, almost mystically, great beauty.
As you can tell from the trailer, the cinematography is magnificent. It is a triumph of classical style by Árni Filippusson. The film is a tribute to the beauty of the Icelandic countryside, as well as the underrated talent of Icelandic filmmakers like Filippusson. The cast is filled with some of Iceland’s best actors and actresses, who are long overdue for this spotlight on the world stage. Tucked away on this island that they call home are some of the best-kept secrets working in drama today.
I’ve been working on this film as Executive Producer for several years. I have watched Aulakh and Kent pour their passion and precision onto the screen, and the result is exquisite poetry. I hope you watch it, and I hope you enjoy the experience half as much as we enjoyed making it.