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Meryl Streep's Suffragette Goes to Focus Features

By Brian Gallagher — March 17th, 2015

Focus Features has acquired North American distribution rights from Pathé to the drama Suffragette, directed by BAFTA Award winner Sarah Gavron from a script written by Emmy Award winner Abi Morgan, for a Fall 2015 domestic release. The cast of the U.K. film includes Academy Award nominees Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter, BAFTA Award winner Ben Whishaw, British Independent Film Award winner Anne-Marie Duff, Golden Globe Award nominee Brendan Gleeson and three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep. Focus has also acquired the distribution rights for Latin America, India, South Korea, and most of Eastern Europe including Russia; Universal Pictures International will release the film in those territories. Focus CEO Peter Schlessel made the announcement today.

Ruby Films' Alison Owen, an Academy Award nominee as producer of Elizabeth, and Faye Ward are the producers of Suffragette, which is directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) from a screenplay by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady). The film's executive producers are Cameron McCracken, Tessa Ross, Rose Garnett, Nik Bower, James Schamus, and Teresa Moneo. Suffragette is a Ruby Films production for Focus Features, Pathé, Film4, and the BFI in association with Ingenious Media and with the participation of Canal+ and Cine-Cinema.

Suffragette is a moving drama that will empower all who are striving for equal rights in our own day and age. The stirring story, inspired by the early-20th-century campaign by the suffragettes for the right of women to vote, centers on Maud (played by Carey Mulligan), a working wife and mother who comes to realize that she must fight for her dignity both at home and in her workplace. Realizing that she is not alone, she becomes an activist alongside other brave women from all walks of life. The early efforts at resistance were passive but as the women faced increasingly aggressive police action, the suffragettes become galvanized - risking their very lives to ensure that women's rights would be recognized and respected.

Peter Schlessel, CEO of Focus Features, had this to say in a statement.

"Suffragette is a story that will resonate with men and women across the generations; it is about parents and children, courage and dedication, and making hard choices. Sarah, Abi, Alison and Faye are women who represent an amazing convergence of filmmaking talent. We're proud to partner with Pathé to bring this powerful drama to audiences worldwide."

The deal was negotiated by Focus Features' Beth Lemberger, Executive Vice President, Business Affairs, and Lia Buman, President of Acquisitions, with Cameron McCracken, Managing Director, Pathé Productions, and Muriel Sauzay, Head of Sales, Pathé International.

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