EXCLUSIVE: Riley Keough and Gina Gammell’s feature directorial debut War Pony has seen its US and Canadian rights acquired by Momentum Pictures.
The movie which made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard and won the Camera d’Or (awarded for Best First Feature Film), will play SXSW, tomorrow, March 16.
War Pony follows the interlocking stories of two young Oglala Lakota men growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Bound by their shared search for belonging, each of the young men grapples with a world built against them, as they navigate their unique paths to manhood.
Back in 2015, Keough befriended two extras on the set of American Honey—Franklin Sioux Bob and Bill Reddy. She introduced them to her best friend Gina Gammell, and a creative foursome was born. The stories in War Pony are drawn from Sioux Bob and Reddy’s own lives and those of their friends and family. Sioux Bob came to the project with the desire to create a realistic onscreen representation of Native American culture. Keough and Gammell spent a great deal of time on the reservation prior to filming.
The screenplay is by Keough, Gammell, Franklin Sioux Bob, and Bill Reddy, and the pic stars Ladainian Crazy Thunder and Justin Bapteise Whiting.
“This story balances the unique circumstances and culture of these two young men on their journey to make their way in a world that has been stacked against them and the universal human experience of discovering who you are in a way that is both beautiful and heartbreaking. Momentum is thrilled to be able to make sure this film finds its way to audiences in the US and Canada,” said Ian Goggins, Momentum Pictures’ EVP, Global Home Entertainment.
Alongside her acting endeavors, Keough co-founded the production company Felix Culpa with producer Gammell. Felix Culpa is dedicated to giving a voice to talent and stories that need to be heard and bridging the development gap in today’s film industry.
War Pony was produced by Felix Culpa, Caviar (Sound of Metal, The Rider), in association with Ward Four, Couscous Films, and Kaleidoscope Entertainment. Keough and Gammell produced the picture alongside Willi White, Bert Hamelinck, Ryan Zacarias, Sacha Ben Harroche, and executive producer Pte Cante Win Poor Bear.
CAA brokered the domestic deal and Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales on War Pony.
Actor, director, and producer Keough can currently be seen as the titular role in Amazon’s Daisy Jones & The Six, based on the best-selling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Within hours of their respective releases, the series hit No. 1 on Amazon Prime Video’s Top 10 list in the U.S., and the show’s coinciding debut album Aurora made it to No. 1 in the U.S. on iTunes.
Keough and Gammell, under their Felix Culpa banner, are currently in production on Under the Bridge, Hulu’s upcoming limited series based on Rebecca Godfrey’s book. It tells the 1997 true story of 14-year-old Reena Virk, who went to join friends at a party and never returned home. The book takes readers into the hidden world of the seven teenage girls and a boy accused of the savage murder, revealing startling truths about the unlikely killer. Keough will also play Godfrey.
Keough earned a Golden Globe nomination for her breakout role in Steven Soderbergh’s original 13-part series The Girlfriend Experience, inspired by the 2009 film of the same title. Her turn in American Honey, which also made its world premiere at Cannes in 2016, earned the actress a 2017 Film Independent Spirit Award nomination. Other film credits include Zola, Mad Max: Fury Road, Magic Mike, The Runaways, The Good Doctor and The Lodge. Keough is represented by CAA and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller.
Momentum picked up the stateside release of To Leslie which world premiered at SXSW last year and went on to notch a Best Actress Oscar nomination for the pic’s Andrea Riseborough.