IFC Films announced today that they are acquiring worldwide rights to writer and director Nicole Riegel’s sophomore feature and romantic drama Dandelion. Riegel first earned critical acclaim with her SXSW breakout film Holler, making Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch list, as well as earning an Indie Spirit nomination for Best First Feature.
The film stars KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk, Don’t Worry Darling, Native Son) which begins principal photography this week. KiKi Layne’s breakout role was in Barry Jenkins’ 2018 drama If Beale Street Could Talk, gaining accolades amongst critic’s groups and a Gotham Independent Film nomination for Breakthrough Actor. Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National are writing the original music and score for the film. Their film credits include Bardo, The Revenant and The Two Popes (Bryce) and Cyrano and C’mon C’mon (Aaron and Bryce).
The brothers are Grammy Award-winning artists in their own right as well as for their work with The National, Bryce for his album Murder Ballades with Eighth Blackbird and Aaron for Album of the Year with Taylor Swift’s Folklore. IFC Films plans to release the film in theaters in 2023.
The film is produced by Rian Cahill of Griffin Drive Productions, Adam Cobb, Pete McClellan and Nicole Riegel. KiKi Layne will also Executive Produce Dandelion alongside Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Fred Berger of Automatik, BondIt Media Capital’s Matthew Helderman, Luke Taylor, and Tyler Gould along with Aaron and Bryce Dessner and IFC Films. “I’m thrilled to deepen and continue my relationship with my IFC family and to work with this dream team of producers and crew. It’s an honor to create music with Aaron and Bryce Dessner, two of the best and most respected musicians and composers in the world. It’s been such a rewarding partnership with KiKi Layne in a role that showcases her authenticity and gorgeous music abilities. Dandelion is a film about dreams and a love of process, so there’s a lot of art imitating life on this one,” says Director-Writer Nicole Riegel.
Kiki Layne added, “I’m very excited to bring forth a story about the resilience of the human spirit and magic of serendipity taking center stage,” adds Layne. “Music is an integral part of my life, so being able to merge the two worlds with my passion of acting is a dream come true, and I’m thrilled to be in partnership with IFC Films.”
Dandelion (KiKi Layne), a struggling but determined Cincinnati singer-songwriter in a downward spiral reluctantly takes a last ditch effort gig at a motorcycle rally in South Dakota where she meets Casey, a guitarist who walked away from his dream long ago. As Dandelion joins Casey’s eclectic and nomadic group of struggling musicians, the two kindred spirits make music together and strike up an intoxicating whirlwind romance that moves Dandelion from an obsession with results and a narrow view of success to a deeper appreciation of her artistic journey and the discovery of a voice that is authentically her own.
Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films, added, “Nicole is an exceptional talent and we could not be more excited to have her return home to IFC Films with her second feature, as well as welcome KiKi Layne to the family. The entire creative team behind the film are some of the best in the business and we are proud to continue to support rising new voices in the industry by coming on board at this early stage.”
IFC Films and Riegel previously teamed up for the release of her coming-of-age Indie Spirit Nominated drama HOLLER, which she also wrote, starring Jessica Barden (End of the F*cking World), Gus Halper (Sing Street) Pamela Aldon (Better Things, Californication), Becky Ann Baker (Freaks and Geeks, Girls), and Austin Amelio (AMC’S The Walking Dead).
The deal for the film was negotiated by SVP of Acquisitions and Productions for IFC Films, Scott Shooman with WME Independent. Riegel is repped by Entertainment 360 and André Des Rochers of Granderson Des Rochers LLP. Layne is repped by WME, Anonymous Content, Sloan Offer and AM PR Group.