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Audrey Plaza's 'Emily the Criminal' Picked Up at Sundance

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Aubrey Plaza in Emily the Criminal

Roadside Attractions and Vertical Entertainment picked up the North American rights for Audrey Plaza's film, EMILY THE CRIMINAL after a bidding war at Sundance. The Sundance 2022 critically-acclaimed thriller is John Patton Ford's directorial and writing debut with Plaza producing.

Plaza plays Emily, a woman with a minor criminal record who's unable to get a job because of it so she resorts to petty crime to make ends meet and becomes involved in illicit activities in the criminal underworld.

EMILY THE CRIMINAL also stars Theo Rossi and Gina Gershon.


February 02, 2022 (Los Angeles, CA) – In heavy competitive bidding, Roadside Attractions and Vertical Entertainment won the North American rights to the Sundance 2022 critically-acclaimed thriller Emily the Criminal, with an original screenplay and directorial debut by John Patton Ford, starring and produced by Aubrey Plaza (Black Bear, Ingrid Goes West), and produced by Tyler Davidson (The Kings of Summer, Take Shelter), and Drew Sykes (Galveston, The Land). Plaza stars opposite Theo Rossi (American Skin, Army of the Dead) as well as Megalyn Echikunwoke (Late Night, Damsels in Distress), and Gina Gershon (Blockers,Bound). In a unique move, Redbox has joined the partnership for home entertainment distribution. The film is slated for a 2022 exclusive theatrical release.

The film follows Emily (Plaza) who is saddled with student debt and locked out of the job market due to a minor criminal record. Desperate for income, she takes a shady gig as a “dummy shopper,” buying goods with stolen credit cards supplied by a handsome and charismatic middleman named Youcef (Rossi). Faced with a series of dead-end job interviews, Emily soon finds herself seduced by the quick cash and illicit thrills of black-market capitalism, and increasingly interested in her mentor Youcef. Together, they hatch a plan to bring their business to the next level in Los Angeles.

Roadside Attractions’ Co-Presidents Howard Cohen & Eric d’Arbeloff remarked, “John Patton Ford’s propulsive thriller Emily The Criminal is a spectacular directing debut with a revelatory performance from Aubrey Plaza as a wildly entertaining antiheroine that recalls Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde.”

Vertical Entertainment’s Partner & CEO Peter Jarowey commented, “When we saw the film, we knew we had to have it. It is an exceptional story that is sure to excite and thrill audiences. We are excited to bring two long-standing collaborators in Roadside and Redbox together on one film that we care so deeply about. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

The filmmakers said in a joint statement, “We continue to believe in the importance of the theatrical experience and the power of watching movies together on a big screen and couldn’t be more excited and confident in our stellar partners at Roadside and Vertical to connect our film with audiences everywhere.”

The film was financed by Davidson’s Low Spark Films in association with Fear Knot Productions and produced by Plaza’s Evil Hag Productions and Low Spark. The film is executive produced by Kevin Flanigan, Dexter Braff, Angus Wall, Kent Kubena, Lowell Shapiro, and Mike Dill. The score was composed by Nathan Halpern, cinematography by Jeff Bierman, editing by Harrison Atkins, casting by Chelsea Ellis Bloch and Marisol Roncalli, costume design by Amanda Wing Yee Lee, and production design by Liz Toonkel.

Peter Jarowey negotiated the deal on behalf of Vertical Entertainment, Angel An negotiated the deal on behalf of Roadside Attractions, Marc Danon negotiated on behalf of home entertainment rights for Redbox Entertainment and CAA Media Finance, Verve Ventures, and ICM Partners negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

About Roadside Attractions (
Since its founding in 2003, Roadside Attractions’ films have grossed over $500 million and garnered 23 Academy Award® nominations. The company recently released The Courier, Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It and The Alpinist. Upcoming 2022 films include Aline, a fiction freely inspired by the life of Celine Dion, Terence Davies’ Benediction and the Jessica Chastain and Ralph Fiennes starrer The Forgiven.

The company has released such critical and commercial hits as Judy, The Peanut Butter Falcon, I Can Only Imagine, Manchester by the Sea, Ben Is Back, Beatriz at Dinner, Whitney, Stronger, Love & Friendship, Hello, My Name Is Doris, Mr. Holmes, Love & Mercy, A Most Wanted Man, Dear White People, The Skeleton Twins, All Is Lost, Mud, Winter’s Bone, The Cove, Arbitrage, Margin Call and Super Size Me.

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