Film shot in Valley picked up at Sundance


By GUY D’ASTOLFO

dastolfo@vindy.com

“Them That Follow,” the film that was shot in the Mahoning Valley in 2017, has picked up a distribution deal.

Orchard Film Group has obtained North American rights to the thriller in a deal made this week at the Sundance Film Festival, according to Hollywood website deadline.com.

“Them That Follow” premiered Sunday at the prestigious Sundance festival, which is in Park City, Utah.

The film is set in rural Appalachia and was shot at various locations in Mahoning and Columbiana counties. It stars Olivia Colman – who has been nominated for an Oscar for her role in “The Favourite” – Walton Goggins, Kaitlyn Dever, Jim Gaffigan, Thomas Mann and Lewis Pullman.

“Them That Follow” looks in on an isolated sect of Pentecostal snake handlers led by Pastor Lemuel (played by Goggins). His daughter Mara (Alice Englert) is preparing for her wedding to a young believer under the watchful eye of Hope (Colman), while scrambling to hide a secret that has the potential to drive her father’s church to ruin.

The film was written and directed by Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage in their feature-film debut, and produced by Bradley Gallo and Michael A. Helfant for Amasia, and Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel and Danielle Robinson for G-BASE.

The producers could not be reached to comment.

The filmmakers received a $1.2 million float loan from the city of Youngstown to help fund it – the first time the economic development loan program was used for a film.

About $200,000 was spent by the film crew in the city limits, spread over caterers, restaurants, rental companies and other businesses, according to Councilman Mike Ray. The total spent in the Mahoning Valley was about $500,000.

As owner of the distribution rights, Orchard Film Group will now market “Them That Follow” to audiences. The release date has not yet been revealed.

In his review of the film on thewrap.com, critic Carlos Aguilar writes:

“Among a cast crowded with first-rate talent, Colman reigns supreme and boosts the work of her fellow actors, playing a stern enforcer desperate to secure both her salvation and that of her only child. ...

“With no technology in sight beyond motor vehicles for most of its running time ... the film gives the impression that the location is suspended in time. ... ‘Them That Follows’ [exploits] the deceptive tranquility of the natural landscape, which contrasts with the turmoil at hand.”

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