Apple Studios acquires Lily Gladstone-starring indie, Fancy Dance

Fancy Dance
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The well-reviewed Fancy Dance has waited for a year for a studio to acquire it, but at long last Apple Studios has stepped in and picked up the Sundance hit.

The process of finding a studio to purchase their film has been quite the wait for the producers of Fancy Dance, an odd occurrence given how well the movie was received when it made its bow at Sundance 2023. That was over a year ago now, but despite earning plenty of plaudits, Fancy Dance struggled to find a distributor.

The film’s failure to find a distribution deal was made even more galling by the fact that 2023 was the year when another film about Native American life, Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon, was incredibly visible. The latter film has enjoyed a wide theatrical run, awards buzz and a release on Apple’s streaming platform.

Fancy Dance's director Erica Tremblay, (who has previously worked on the lauded FX series Reservation Dogs as a writer and director) penned a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter in November addressing this, stating, “Our film premiered in the same year as Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon. Both films star Lily Gladstone, are set in Oklahoma and deal with themes surrounding settler violence against Native peoples. As first-time indie filmmakers, we were under absolutely no illusion that Fancy Dance would receive the same kind of industry support as Mr Scorsese’s juggernaut, but the disparity is so great that it renders our film virtually invisible and leaves only one available perspective: the non-Native one.”

Ironically, Lily Gladstone’s terrific performance in Killers Of The Flower Moon may have ultimately aided Fancy Dance's search for distribution, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Lily Gladstone has been nominated for an Oscar for her work in Scorsese’s film and her elevated profile seems to have persuaded Apple to pick up Fancy Dance for distribution on its Apple TV+ platform along with giving the film a theatrical run (in the US at least).

All’s well that ends well, then. The film will release later this year. We’ll leave you with the synopsis below:

Fancy Dance follows Jax (Gladstone) as she cares for her niece Roki (Isabel Deroy-Olson), following the disappearance of her sister. At the risk of losing custody to Jax’s father, Frank (Shea Whigham), Jax and Roki hit the road and scour the backcountry to track down Roki’s mother in time for the powwow that Roki has been preparing for.

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