IFC, FilmNation Take Venice Winner, French Abortion Drama ‘Happening’


IFC Films and FilmNation have jointly acquired U.S. rights to Happening, the French abortion drama also known as L’événement from Audrey Diwan, which won the Golden Lion for best film at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

The period drama, set in France in the 1960s, when abortion was still illegal in the country, has been given a timely edge following Texas’ new restrictive abortion law, passed earlier this year, which outlaws most abortions after six weeks.

Diwan adapted the film from Annie Ernaux’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Set in 1963 it follows Anne (Anamaria Vartolomei), a bright young student who sees her promising future threatened after she accidentally becomes pregnant.

Happening was well-received in Venice, where The Hollywood Reporter‘s chief critic David Rooney called it “a slice of clear-eyed French social-realism that will be meaningful to anyone who cares about personal freedoms.”

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The film is a front runner to represent France for the 2022 Oscars in the best international feature category.

IFC Films plans to release Happening theatrically in the U.S. early next year.

The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films’ president Arianna Bocco with CAA Media Finance and Wild Bunch on behalf of the filmmakers. Wild Bunch International is handling international sales.

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