‘Starve Acre,’ Folk Horror Starring Morfydd Clark and Matt Smith, Sells to U.S., U.K.


Daniel Kokotajlo’s second feature, which world premiered at the London Film Festival, was acquired by Brainstorm Media and BFI Distribution.

Starve Acre, the chilling folk horror from British writer and director Daniel Kokotajlo (Apostasy) and starring Morfydd Clark (The Rings of Power) and Matt Smith (The Crown), has landed U.S. and U.K deals.

Cornerstone has closed sales on multiple territories on the film, with Brainstorm Media acquiring distribution rights for North America and BFI Distribution picking it up for the the U.K. and Ireland. The deals were finalized following the film’s world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival where it screened In competition. Additional deals include X Verleih (Germany and Switzerland), Blitz (Ex-Yugoslavia), Galapagos (Poland), Front Row (Middle East), Klockworx (Japan) and Terry Steiner (Airlines).

Written and directed by Kokotajlo and his second feature following his critically lauded debut feature ApostasyStarve Acre is based on the book by Andrew Michael Hurly and is set in rural England in the 1970s. The story follows a couple whose seemingly idyllic family life is thrown into turmoil when their son starts acting out of character. At Starve Acre, their remote family home, archaeologist Richard buries himself in exploring a folkloric myth that the ancient oak tree on their land is imbued with phenomenal powers. While Juliette turns to the local community to find some kind of peace, Richard obsessively digs deeper. An unexpected discovery soon occupies the couple’s attention and dark and sinister forces, unwittingly allowed into the home, offer a disturbing possibility of reconnection between them.

A House Productions film, Starve Acre was produced by Tessa Ross, Juliette Howell, Derrin Shlesinger and Emma Duffy. It was developed with BBC Film and is funded by Access Entertainment together with BBC Film and the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding. The film’s music was written by Matthew Herbert.

“A magnificent tribute to the British folk horror tradition which has always been in BFI Distribution’s DNA, Starve Acre is also a wonderfully original film,” said Laura Dos Santos, BFI Distribution’s acquisitions manager. “It will enthral a wide range of tastes in the UK and in Ireland – genre fans, cinephiles and beyond.”

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the premiere, Clark discussed returning to horror following her breakout in Saint Maud, saying that Kokotajlo had approached her after watching the film and that it was “nice to be seen as spooky and freaky.”

Cornerstone will handle sales for the remaining territories at the upcoming American Film Market where they are also representing two Kiah Roache-Turner titles, Beast of War and Sting, as well as Mike Leigh’s untitled 2023 project, Polly Steele’s magical romance Four Letters of Love starring Pierce Brosnan, Helena Bonham Carter and Gabriel Byrne and Euros Lyn’s vampire black comedy The Radleys starring Damian Lewis and Kelly Macdonald.