Focus Features Acquires Willem Dafoe Psychological Thriller, Inside

The film is slated for theatrical release on March 10, 2023

Focus Features announced today that it has acquired and will release INSIDE, a psychological thriller starring Academy Award® nominee Willem Dafoe in filmmaker Vasilis Katsoupis’s directorial debut, on March 10, 2023. Ben Hopkins wrote the script based on an original idea by Katsoupis. The deal was negotiated by Bankside’s Stephen Kelliher on behalf of the filmmakers.

The film is produced by Giorgos Karnavas alongside producers Marcos Kantis, and Dries Phlypo and executive produced by Katsoupis, Jim Stark, Konstantinos Kontovrakis, Charles E. Breitkreuz, Martin Lehwald, Jean-Claude Van Rijckeghem, and Stephen Kelliher. Focus Features is distributing INSIDE domestically, with Universal Pictures International distributing internationally

Creator-Director Katsoupis and Karnavas, the critically acclaimed producer of Greek boutique production and sales outfit, Heretic, whose credits include the Cannes Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Sadness, La Semaine de la Critique winner Feathers and Greece 2022 Academy Award® entry Magnetic Fields, said in a joint statement, “It’s a dream to have made this film, the way we wanted to, having the priviledge to work with Willem and all these amazing filmmakers that supported us. Focus is the perfect place for the film, and we can’t wait to share it with the world.”

INSIDE tells the story of Nemo, an art thief trapped in a New York penthouse after his heist doesn’t go as planned. Locked inside with nothing but priceless works of art, he must use all his cunning and invention to survive.

“With INSIDE, Focus continues our commitment to first-time and international filmmakers,” said Kiska Higgs, President of Production & Acquisitions at Focus Features. “Vasilis’s thought-provoking film explores an experience we’re all now familiar with - isolation – and explores it in a visually stunning way.”

Dafoe’s additional upcoming projects include Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things and Patricia Arquette’s Gonzo Girl. His most recent credits include Walter Hill’s Dead for A Dollar, Robert Eggers’ The Northman, Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley and Jon Watt’s Spiderman: No Way Home.

Dafoe is represented by WME and Circle of Confusion. Hopkins is represented by Curtis Brown Group.

About Bankside Films:

Founded in London in 2007, Bankside Films is a leading international sales company providing worldwide distribution, executive producing and financing services to independent producers globally. The company also manages an in-house development and production slate, originating its own projects as well as partnering with filmmakers to commission and develop new material. Bankside Films also enjoys a close relationship with its sister company, Head Gear Films, a leading financier of global content whilst maintaining relationships with a broad range of international financiers. The company is driven by a passion for storytelling which challenges the status quo.

Bankside Films prides itself on working with unique and distinctive cinematic voices capable of delivering exciting new stories for worldwide audiences. Emerging filmmakers are intrinsic to the company’s ethos and we continue to champion them whilst remaining a key partner for more established directors and producers.

Past successes include BELLE by Amma Asante, sold globally to Searchlight Pictures, CARGO by Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling, sold globally to Netflix, Sundance title THE HOLE IN THE GROUND by first time director Lee Cronin, which was acquired by A24 in the US, ORDINARY LOVE by Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D’Sa, sold internationally to Focus Features and domestically to Bleecker Street, IN FABRICby Peter Strickland, sold domestically to A24, ETERNAL BEAUTY written and directed by Craig Roberts and starring Sally Hawkins and WOLF written and directed by Nathalie Biancheri and starring George MacKay and Lily Rose Depp which sold to Focus Features globally.

Recent festival successes include Terence Davies’ BENEDICTION and Kate Dolan’s YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER which both premiered at the Toronto Film Festival 2021. Jim Archer’s BRIAN AND CHARLESand Goran Stolevksi’s YOU WON’T BE ALONE both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and both sold internationally to Focus. Peter Strickland’s FLUX GOURMET was also in official selection at the Berlin Film Festival this year. Most recently om 2022, Juan Diego Botto’s ON THE FRINGE starring Penelope Cruz has premiered at the Venice Film Festival, Andrew Legge’s LOLA premiered at the Locarno Film Festival and then went on to a competition slot at the Edinburgh Film Festival, and Mary Harron’s much anticipated DALÍLAND was the closing night film at the Toronto Film Festival.

In the documentary space, the company is drawn to broad appeal, human stories which can perform in the traditional theatrical space as well as on worldwide streaming services. Our approach to selling documentaries mirror that of fictional features and our relationships with buyers of documentary films are second to none.