Lionsgate Acquires Artists Equity’s “Small Things Like These,” Feature Film Adaptation of Claire Keegan’s Acclaimed Novel, Produced By and Starring Oscar Winner Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy in Small Things Like These

Roadside Attractions to Release Film Theatrically in North America

Santa Monica, California ( June 5, 2024 ) -

Lionsgate has acquired distribution rights in North America, the UK and Ireland to the film “Small Things Like These,” the adaptation of Claire Keegan’s acclaimed novel, starring Academy Award winner Cillian Murphy and Emily Watson, Directed by Tim Mielants. The film was produced by Murphy and his producing partner Alan Moloney through their production company Big Things Films and was financed and put into production by Artists Equity, the artist-led studio founded by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Production took place in Ireland last year. The studio will partner with Roadside Attractions for North American theatrical distribution.

“Small Things Like These,” which was the opening night film playing in competition at the Berlin Film Festival this year and won a Silver Bear for Emily Watson’s performance, takes place over Christmas in 1985, when devoted father Bill Furlong (Murphy) discovers the startling secrets being kept by the convent in his town, and some shocking truths about his own life as well.

Adam Fogelson, Chair of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said, “We are incredibly proud to bring this film to audiences. Claire Keegan’s book is a captivating, heart-wrenching, and empathetically told story of a character who uncovers not only a local mystery, but also discovers who he really is. Cillian is at the peak of his powers, both as an actor and a producer, and it’s exciting to work with Matt and Ben to distribute a film they have shepherded so lovingly. It’s especially meaningful for us to be distributing in Ireland, where we are confident audiences will embrace the film.”

Murphy said, “Especially since ‘Small Things Like These’ marks the first project from Big Things Films, I’m particularly pleased Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will bring it to audiences in Ireland, the US and UK. Making the film was labor of love; I can’t wait to talk about it. We are enormously grateful to Artists Equity for their unwavering support throughout this process. From the moment we shared the script, they have been there for us, and we are immensely grateful for their philosophy and partnership.”

Affleck and Damon, Co-Founders of Artists Equity, said, “When Cillian and Alan Moloney brought this project to us, we instantly said we wanted to help bring it to life. We couldn’t be prouder of that decision. This is simply a wonderful film, one that we think really does justice to Claire Keegan’s astounding, poignant novella. We are elated to partner with Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions so audiences across the U.S., U.K. and particularly Ireland will be able to see it.”

Roadside Attractions’ co-presidents Eric d’Arbeloff and Howard Cohen added, “Seeing Cillian Murphy, one of the world’s greatest actors, back on his home turf in Ireland in such a powerful film will be a joy for film lovers. While everyone knows Emily Watson is also extraordinary, her performance in Small Things Like These left us stunned when we saw the film in Berlin. We are so excited to be partnering with Lionsgate and Artists Equity on the release.”

The project reunites director Tim Mielants (“Will,” “The Responder,” “Patrick,” “Peaky Blinders”) and Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer,” “A Quiet Place Part II”), who previously worked together on the BAFTA Award-winning series “Peaky Blinders.” Enda Walsh, a longtime collaborator of Murphy’s, wrote the screenplay adaptation. Catherine Magee also serves as a producer along with Murphy and Moloney. For Artists Equity, Matt Damon and Drew Vinton produce, and Ben Affleck, Kevin Halloran, and Michael Joe executive produce. The film is an Irish/Belgian co-production with additional funding coming from Screen Ireland. Belgium’s Wilder Films co-produced.

Kaycee Holcomb and Elin Madadian along with Lauren Bixby negotiated the deal for Lionsgate.

“Small Things Like These” was published in 2021 by Grove Press and quickly went on to critical acclaim, having been shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize. “Small Things Like These” also won the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, the Ambassadors’ Prize for best Irish novel published in France, and The Kerry Prize for Irish Novel of the year. It was also longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award.

In 2023, the adaptation of Keegan’s previous novel “The Quiet Girl” marked Ireland’s first international film nomination (and the first time an Irish-language film has been nominated for an Academy Award). Keegan’s additional works have won numerous awards and are translated into more than thirty languages. “Antarctica” won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. “Walk the Blue Fields” won the Edge Hill Prize for the finest collection of stories published in the British Isles. Her novella “Foster,” after winning the Davy Byrnes Award — then the world’s richest prize for a story — was chosen by The Times of London as one of the top 50 works to be published in the 21st Century; it is now part of the school syllabus in Ireland.

About Lionsgate
Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) encompasses world-class motion picture and television studio operations and the STARZ premium global subscription platform, bringing a unique and varied portfolio of entertainment to consumers around the world. The Company’s film, television, subscription and location-based entertainment businesses are backed by a more than 20,000-title library and a valuable collection of iconic film and television franchises. A digital age company driven by its entrepreneurial culture and commitment to innovation, the Lionsgate brand is synonymous with bold, original, relatable entertainment for audiences worldwide.

About Lionsgate Studios
Lionsgate Studios (NASDAQ: LION) is one of the world’s leading standalone, pure play, publicly-traded content companies. It brings together diversified motion picture and television production and distribution businesses, a world-class portfolio of valuable brands and franchises, a talent management and production powerhouse and a more than 20,000-title film and television library, all driven by Lionsgate’s bold and entrepreneurial culture.

Roadside Attractions
Since its founding in 2003, Roadside Attractions films have grossed over $500 million and garnered 23 Academy Award nominations. Recent releases include Independent Spirit Award winning “Emily The Criminal” starring Aubrey Plaza, Ray Romano’s directorial debut “Somewhere in Queens” starring Romano, Laurie Metcalf, Jennifer Esposito and Sebastian Maniscalco, and the Sundance winning documentary “Beyond Utopia,” directed by Madeleine Gavin and Academy Award shortlisted International feature, “The Monk and the Gun”.

Upcoming films from Roadside include Karim Aïnouz’ historical thriler “Firebrand,” starring Academy Award and Golden Globe Nominee Jude Law and Academy Award Winner and Golden Globe Nominee Alicia Vikander;” KILL,” produced by Karan Johar, one of the most notable Indian filmmakers today, featuring the breakout action star Lakshya in a newest and supercharged genre of action films to be produced from India; “Lee “starring Academy Award Winner Kate Winslet with performances by Josh O’Connor, Academy Award Nominee Andrea Riseborough, Andy Samberg, Alexander Skarsgård and Academy Award Winner Marion Cotillard; the enchanting family film,” My Penguin Friend” opening “City of Dreams,” an adrenaline-fueled thriller about human trafficking and the lauded directorial debut by renowned artist Titus Kaphar starring Spirit Award Winner and SAG Nominee André Holland Tony Award Nominee John Earl Jelks, Oscar nominee Andra Day and Oscar Nominee and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor.

The company has released such critical and commercial hits as “The Courier,” “Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It, Judy, The Peanut Butter Falcon, Manchester by the Sea, Love & Friendship, Mr. Holmes, Love & Mercy, A Most Wanted Man, Dear White People, Mud, Winter’s Bone, The Cove, Margin Call” and” Super Size Me”. Roadside is known for innovative strategies that maximize the value of their films via theatrical box office success.

About Artists Equity
Artists Equity is an independently capitalized, artist-led studio that partners with filmmakers to empower their creative vision and broaden access to profit participation. The studio was launched in November 2022 by Chief Executive Officer Ben Affleck and Chief Content Officer Matt Damon — who combined have garnered three Academy Awards and over $10.7 billion in global box office as lauded film and television writers, directors, producers, and actors — in partnership with RedBird Capital Partners. In 2023, Artists Equity released its inaugural film, “Air,” starring Damon and Affleck alongside Jason Bateman and Viola Davis. Air opened in theaters and streamed via Amazon Prime to critical and commercial success and garnered Golden Globe nominations. Since then, the studio has released several films including the acclaimed, chart-topping documentary “The Greatest Love Story Never Told,” for Amazon MGM Studios, “Kiss the Future,” the Berlinale Documentary Award nominee about the Bosnian War and siege of Sarajevo, and how U2 lent its support to help the community reunite and heal. Artists Equity’s highly-anticipated features include the August release of “The Instigators,” a crime-drama starring Damon and Casey Affleck and directed by Doug Liman, produced in partnership with Apple Original Films; the William Goldenberg-directed “Unstoppable,” starring Jennifer Lopez, Jharrel Jerome, Don Cheadle, Michael Peña, and Bobby Cannavale, for Amazon MGM Studios; “The Accountant 2,” also for Amazon MGM studios, a sequel to the 2016 hit that sees the return of director Gavin O’Connor, writer Bill Dubuque, and stars Affleck, Jon Bernthal, and J.K. Simmons; and “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” adapted from the seven-Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, written and directed by Academy Award winner Bill Condon and starring Jennifer Lopez and Diego Luna.