ARRAY Releasing, the distribution arm of Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY, has acquired the distribution rights for indie drama “Learn to Swim” and has set a release date for Aug. 15 in select theaters and on Netflix.
“Learn to Swim” marks the feature directorial debut of Thyrone Tommy, who co-wrote the screenplay with Marni Van Dyk. Alona Metzer produced the film.
An official entry into last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, “Learn to Swim” focuses on two young jazz musicians: saxophone player Dezi (Thomas Antony Olajide) and singer Selma (Emma Ferreira). Although polar opposites — Dezi is experienced and closed off, Selma is inexperienced and spirited — sparks fly between the two, but their respective emotional baggage stands in the way between them and romance.
The contemporary jazz romance made the TIFF’s annual top 10 list in 2021 and was nominated for the DGC Discovery Award at the Directors Guild of Canada Awards. The film also received two nods at the Canadian Screen Awards, where it won the best original song category for “And Then We Don’t,” an original song composed by TiKa and Casey Manierka-Quaile.
In addition to obtaining the U.S. distribution rights to the film, ARRAY will also handle distribution in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
“With ARRAY Releasing’s summer acquisition of ‘Learn to Swim,’ we are thrilled to highlight the lyrical directorial debut of Canadian filmmaker Thyrone Tommy,” ARRAY president Tilane Jones said in a statement announcing the deal. “His award-winning film delivers a deeply felt story that addresses tragic loss, matters of the heart and the resilience of the human spirit.”
The film’s acquisition was negotiated by Gordon Bobb of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein and Lezcano on behalf of ARRAY. Derek Kigono of APA and Ben Cowley of Goldenberg & Co. negotiated on behalf of “Learn to Swim.”