TIMELY AND TIMELESS STORY ABOUT A LONG DISTANCE FRIENDSHIP MARKS THE DIRECTORIAL DEBUT OF NATALIE MORALES
Shout! Studios, the multi-platform entertainment distribution and production arm of Shout! Factory, has acquired North American rights to the charming drama LANGUAGE LESSONS from Duplass Brothers Productions, following a competitive bidding situation. Starring and written by Mark Duplass (The Morning Show, Room 104) and Natalie Morales (Dead to Me, Plan B), LANGUAGE LESSONS, a captivating platonic love story, marks the feature directorial debut of Morales and was produced by Mel Eslyn. The announcement comes on the heels of the film’s successful world premiere at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival and its Audience Award win at the SXSW Film Festival.
LANGUAGE LESSONS follows Adam (Duplass), whose husband surprises him with a gift of a year’s worth of weekly Spanish lessons. But when tragedy strikes, his teacher, Cariño (Morales), becomes a lifeline he didn’t know he needed and the two develop an unexpected and complicated emotional bond. Shot in secret during the pandemic with a skeleton crew in Los Angeles and Costa Rica, LANGUAGE LESSONS’s exploration of long-distance connection is both of its time and timeless. The film received critical acclaim out of Berlin and SXSW, with The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney calling it “a film graced with charm and genuine heart” while Variety’s Guy Lodge praised it as “a rare and preceptive film about the formation of a friendship with the push-pull dynamics of a romantic comedy.”
Shout! Studios has secured all distribution rights in North America to LANGUAGE LESSONS, including theatrical, digital, video-on-demand, broadcast, and home entertainment for cross-platform releases. Shout! Studios plans a strategic launch of this movie across all major entertainment platforms in North America, beginning with a theatrical launch later this year.
The movie deal was negotiated by ICM Partners for Duplass Brothers Productions and Shout’s Jordan Fields, Vice President of Acquisitions, Julie Dansker, Head of New Content Sales, and Steven Katz, Vice President of Business Affairs for Shout! Studios.
“Shout! has held a special place in my heart, way back since their release of my first show, The Middleman. What can I say? They’ve always had a good eye, and they’ve always been supportive of the little guy. I’m thrilled that they’re the ones who will bring this movie about connection to larger audiences in a time where I think we could all use it,” stated Natalie Morales.
“We’ve been so humbled by the response to our little film, but it was Shout!’s unwavering passion and innovative strategy that won us over in the end,” extolled Mark Duplass. “Can’t wait for this one!”
“I am thrilled to partner once again with Mark and Mel, iconic storytellers and filmmakers, on this award-winning and very special film,” said Julie Dansker, Shout’s Head of New Content Sales. “The performances from Mark and Natalie are amazing and we are so excited to share Natalie’s incredibly impressive and refreshing directorial debut with audiences.”
Jordan Fields, Vice President of Acquisitions at Shout! Studios commented: “Language Lessons is a masterfully acted, sharply crafted, and profoundly entertaining portrait of friendship by Natalie and Mark. It leaves you hopeful that real human connection can blossom in the uncongenial world of screens.”
A production of Duplass Brothers Productions, LANGUAGE LESSONS was executive produced by Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass, and Jay Duplass. The film features original music by Gaby Moreno.
LANGUAGE LESSONS | Movie Synopsis
When Adam’s (Mark Duplass) husband surprises him with weekly Spanish lessons, he’s unsure about where or how this new element will fit into his already structured life. But when tragedy strikes, his Spanish teacher, Cariño (Natalie Morales), becomes a lifeline he didn’t know he needed. Adam develops an unexpected and complicated emotional bond with Cariño—but do you really know someone just because you’ve experienced a traumatic moment with them? Bittersweet, honest, and at times, darkly funny, LANGUAGE LESSONS is a disarmingly moving exploration of platonic love.
Cast: Mark Duplass, Natalie Morales, Desean Terry
Directed by Natalie Morales
Written by Mark Duplass & Natalie Morales
Produced by Mel Eslyn and Duplass Brothers Productions
Executive Produced by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass
Executive Produced by Natalie Morales
Co-Produced by Will Dowsett and Ashley Edouard
Cinematography by Jeremy Mackie
Edited by Aleshka Ferrero
Sound Design by Zach Goheen
Original music by Gaby Moreno