Ballet Drama ‘Joika’ Starring Talia Ryder, Diane Kruger Acquired By Vertical
Posted by Veronique on February 19th, 2024

The true-life ballet drama Joika starring Talia Ryder (Never Rarely Sometimes Always) as Joy Womack has been snapped up by Vertical in a deal for U.S., UK and Ireland rights. Co-starring Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds), the film written and directed by James Napier Robertson (The Dark Horse) is set for a day-and-date release this spring.

Joika offers a deep dive into the athletic trajectory of Womack, one of only a handful of foreigners, and only two American women, ever accepted into Russia’s elite and infamously tough Bolshoi Ballet. Testing the limits of dedication, determination, sacrifice and virtuosity, Joy’s brilliance is an inspirational journey into the most competitive, hostile dance school in the world. Spurred on by Tatiyana Volkova (Kruger), the Bolshoi’s magnetic and masterful tutor, and the searing passions of first love, Joy leaps into the unknown with the hopes of reaching extraordinary heights.

“The character of Joy puts herself through some incredible circumstances,” said Robertson in a statement ahead of the film’s release. “It felt crucial to me that audiences, who may know nothing about ballet, experience the wonder and awe of this world, in a powerfully visceral way, to understand why someone would be so devoted to it.”

Tony Piantedosi, Vertical’s SVP of Acquisitions stated that “James has made this film with an attention to detail and master of his craft that mirrors its subject, and Joy is brought vividly to life by Talia’s committed, devastating, and invigorating performance. We look forward to presenting the film to audiences this Spring.

A trained dancer, Ryder worked with both New York Ballet principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht and Womack herself in prepping for the shoot, with Womack serving as the actress’s double for particularly demanding sequences. Also starring Oleg Ivenko, Natasha Alderslade, Natalia Osipova, Charlotte Ubben, Borys Szyc, Tomasz Kot, and Karolina Gruszka, the film is produced by Belindalee Hope, Klaudia Smieja-Rostworowska and Tom Hern.

Executive producers are Paul Green, Andrea Scarso, Peter Touche, John Robertson, Stephanie Napier, Hugo Grumbar, Tim Haslam, Laurie Ross, Robert Walak, Luke Rivett, Michael Cerny, Philip Rose, Charlotte Ubben, and James Napier Robertson. Adam Gudell and Alex Cole-Baker co-produced. Marking the first official co-production between New Zealand and Poland, under the auspices of award-winning NZ production company Four Knights Film, the film was financed in association with the New Zealand Film Commission and the Polish Film Institute.

Vertical Partner Peter Jarowey and Piantedosi negotiated the deal on behalf of the distributor, with UTA’s Independent Film Group repping the production. Embankment Film is handling international Sales.



First photo of Talia in “Joika”
Posted by Veronique on February 6th, 2022

Gallery - Joika - Stills

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