Focus Features buys quirky Sundance comedy ‘Brian and Charles’

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Focus Features has acquired worldwide rights to “Brian and Charles,” an original and heartfelt comedy about an unlikely friendship that debuted to rave reviews this week at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film centers on Brian, a lone inventor in the Welsh countryside, who builds unconventional contraptions that rarely work. He soon embarks on his biggest project yet – spending three days transforming a washing machine and various spare parts into Charles, an artificially intelligent robot who learns English from a dictionary and is obsessed with cabbage.

Polygon’s Oli Welsh praised the film “warmth and tenderness” while Esther Zuckerman of Thrillist wrote that the film is “adorably whimsical and downright touching”.

Director Jim Archer developed the film with Film4, which co-financed the production, and the BFI, which provided funds from the National Lottery. It is based on a short film that Archer created and wrote by David Earl and Chris Hayward and produced by Rupert Majendie for Mr Box Productions. Executive producers are Damian Jones, Mary Burke for the BFI, and Lauren Dark and Ollie Madden for Film4.

Majendie and director Jim Archer commented: “We have been so blown away by the reaction of Sundance audiences to the film and also want to extend a big thank you to the incredible teams at Film4, BFI and Bankside. They have all been amazing in their support for this little film. We are incredibly thrilled to have found a partner in Focus who truly understands this story and is as passionate about it as we are. We’re still a little scared they’ll wake up and find they’ve just bought a film on a walking washing machine, but the ink is dry now so it’s too late!

Focus Features will distribute the film domestically and Universal Pictures will distribute it internationally. Film4 will retain the film’s free-to-air UK television rights. Archer is represented by Independent Talent Group.

“Brian and Charles” stars David Earl, Chris Hayward, Louise Brealey, James Michie and Nina Sosanya. This marks Archer’s first feature film as a director. He started by shooting comedy sketches with friends before writing and directing several short films, culminating in winning gold at the Young Director Awards in Cannes for the short version of “Brian and Charles”.

The sale was handled by Bankside Films with Joe Toto and Carlen Johnson on behalf of Focus Features.


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