Utopia Buys Psychedelic Musical Comedy ‘Give Me Pity!’ Out of Fantasia (EXCLUSIVE)

Utopia has acquired the North American rights to Amanda Kramer’s “Give Me Pity!” ahead of the musical comedy’s North American premiere at Fantasia Film Festival.

“Give Me Pity!” follows a Saturday Night variety show host who slowly unravels on screen in what Kramer has called “an untamed and intimate portrayal of diva culture, female vanity, created persona, and the prisms of fame.”

The film enjoys its North American premiere at genre fest Fantasia in Montreal, Canada, on Friday. Utopia has set an early 2023 release for the pic, and has partnered with boutique agency Aspect Ratio for a special distribution roll-out. Prior to the movie’s commercial release, Aspect Ratio will handle non-theatrical and specialty art venue bookings.

“Give Me Pity!” world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in January, closing the Dutch festival’s Filmmakers in Focus section. Indie sales, distribution and production company Alief picked up global sales rights ahead of Rotterdam, and later screened the film as part of Berlin’s European Film Market.

In the pic, Sophie von Haselberg stars as Sissy St. Claire, an entertainer who has finally made it with her own Saturday Night television special — an all-singing, all-dancing one-woman show, complete with disco, drama and self-examination. However, as the show progresses, Sissy starts to unravel, and the production’s canned laughter takes on a derisive quality, turning into a psychedelic nightmare.

Kramer’s recent credits include “Please Baby Please,” which was picked up by Music Box Films earlier this year, as well as “Ladyworld.” Producers on “Give Me Pity!” are Sarah Winshall (“Strawberry Mansion,” “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair”) and Jacob Agger.

The film was produced by Winshall’s company Smudge Films in collaboration with Neon Heart Productions and Irving Harvey.

The deal was negotiated by Danielle DiGiacomo for Utopia and Jordan Matos for Aspect Ratio, with Miguel Angel Govea of Alief on behalf of the filmmakers.

“Give Me Pity!” is the latest buzzy acquisition for Utopia, which was founded by filmmaker and musician Robert Schwartzman and Cole Harper in 2018. The company made a splash in Cannes this spring, buying Iranian thriller “Holy Spider,” which picked up a best actress prize for lead Zar Amir-Ebrahimi. Utopia recently released Lena Dunham’s Sundance drama “Sharp Stick” in the U.S.

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