Morrisa Maltz’s SXSW Drama “The Unknown Country” Lands at Music Box, Lily Gladstone Stars

Music Box Films has acquired the North American rights to Morrisa Maltz’s  “The Unknown Country,” a press release announced. “Certain Women” actress Lily Gladstone stars as Tana, a bereaved young woman embarking on a solitary odyssey through the American Midwest towards the Texas-Mexico border.

Upon receiving a last-minute invitation to her cousin’s wedding, Tana sets off on an impromptu road trip from Minneapolis to Spearfish, South Dakota. Set against the backdrop of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, she must negotiate the complex political zeitgeist in the fallout of Trump’s victory while moving through an “increasingly surreal” natural landscape, per the film’s synopsis. 

“We’re so excited to continue our film’s incredible journey with Music Box,” Maltz said in a statement. “Partnering with a distributor that has such a sincere love and passion for daring independent cinema is so important for a film like ours. We could not be more thrilled to work with their talented and exceptionally creative team to bring ‘The Unknown Country’ to audiences next year.”

Brian Andreotti, Music Box Films’ head of marketing, added, “Morrisa’s lyrical road movie blurs the lines separating documentary and fiction filmmaking in really innovative ways. Lily Gladstone’s soulful performance enriches this cinematic postcard from the backroads and highways connecting middle America’s diverse voices and varied landscapes.”

“The Unknown Country” made its World premiere at SXSW earlier this year. 

In addition to starring, Gladstone also penned the script alongside Maltz, Lainey Bearkiller Shangreaux, and Vanara Taing (“The Lego Batman Movie”). 

Gladstone’s supporting role in 2016’s “Certain Women” landed her nominations from the Gotham Awards and Indie Spirit Awards. She reunited with Reichardt on 2019’s “First Cow.” Her upcoming slate includes “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a crime drama revisiting how members of the Osage tribe were murdered under mysterious circumstances.

Maltz previously helmed “Ingrid,” a doc which she took home the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Red Rock Film Festival. It follows Ingrid Gipson, who absconded from her life as a socialite and fashion designer to lead a self-sufficient, reclusive life in the woods. She also directed “Odyssea,” a 2014 comedic short about a young woman who returns to her hometown to pursue a private venture with real and imagined inhabitants.

“The Unknown Country” is screening at Mill Valley Film Fest October 9 and will launch in theaters and VOD next year.

Originally published at

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