Angelina Jolie's directorial debut, called "In the Land of Blood and Honey" and set against the backdrop of the war in Bosnia in the 1990s, will reach U.S. theaters in late December under a distribution deal announced Sunday in Cannes.
FilmDistrict, a subsidiary of Graham King's GK Films, said it will release the English-language version of the film Dec. 23 in the United States. Terms of the deal were not revealed.
[Updated at 10:23 a.m.: The buy marks the second at Cannes for FilmDistrict, which has been part of the resurgence in the film-acquisitions market. The company is run by Peter Schlessel, the former Sony executive who helped spearhead the acquisition of "District 9," and Bob Berney, the longtime distribution guru who is in no small part responsible for the success of films such "The Passion of the Christ" and "Pan's Labyrinth."]
The movie, which was filmed largely in Hungary, was the subject of some controversy last year amid reports that the plot included a romance between a Serb rapist and his Bosnian Muslim victim -- a plot point that Jolie and her representatives denied. Representatives of the Association of Women Victims of War in Sarajevo protested to government officials in Bosnia, and permits to film in the city and another small town were temporarily thrown into doubt. But filming later went forward.
“The film is specific to the Bosnian War, but it’s also universal,” Jolie, who also penned the script, said in a statement announcing the distribution deal. “I wanted to tell a story of how human relationships and behavior are deeply affected by living inside a war."
FilmDistrict characterized the movie, which was filmed simultaneously in English and the Serbo-Croatian language, as "bold" and said it "illustrates the consequences of the lack of political will to intervene in a society stricken with conflict."
The all-local cast stars Zana Marjanovic, Goran Kostic and Rade Serbedzija.
FilmDistrict, which has had success at the box office this year with several small-budget films including "Insidious" and "Soul Surfer," inked a U.S. distribution deal in Cannes for "Looper." The quirky time-travel film involving hit men stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis.
-- Steven Zeitchik in Cannes, France, and Julie Makinen
Photo: Angelina Jolie. Credit: Getty Images