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By Mike Johnson on 7/15/2020 7:59 AM



NEW YORK, NY (July 15, 2020) – IFC Films announced today that it is acquiring North American rights to EMBATTLED, an unflinching drama about fathers and sons, toplined by a raw, dynamic performance from veteran actor Stephen Dorff (BladeI Shot Andy WarholTrue DetectiveSomewhere). IFC Films will release the film in November 2020.

The Blitz Films production marks Georgian-born director Nick Sarkisov’s (2016’s Krasny) English-language debut. From a screenplay by David McKenna (American History X), EMBATTLED is set within the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Dorff plays Cash, a man who channels his aggression into becoming a major champion in the cage-fighting sport. He’s achieved wealth and fame, but when his second son is born with Williams Syndrome, an incurable developmental disorder, he runs away from his family. Writer McKenna’s own 15-year-old son Colin, who was born with Williams Syndrome, portrays the boy.

Years later, Cash’s elder son, Jett (Darren Mann, Giant Little Ones, Wayward Pines) decides to follow his father’s footsteps into the fight game, facing his past – and his father – head on, when a media firestorm inevitably pits the two generations of men against one another in a battle that neither can truly win.

The cast also features Karrueche Tran (Claws), Elizabeth Reaser (The Haunting of Hill House), Donald Faison (Scrubs), Drew Starkey (Outer Banks), Ava Capri (Blast Beat), Saïd Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman), in addition to real life UFC fighters Tyron Woodley, Cowboy Cerrone, Eryk Anders, and former UFC fighter Kenny Florian. The intense, technically precise MMA scenes in the film were choreographed by actor-stuntman Fernando Chien (Fast FiveThe Last Ship).

EMBATTLED was produced by Eryl Cochran, Scott LaStaiti and Sergey Sarkisov and executive produced by Nick Sarkisov, Stephen Dorff, Frank Ragen, Colleen Camp, and Rhys Coiro.

Arianna Bocco, EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films said, “Director Nick Sarkisov and writer David McKenna have made an ambitious and tender film about the pain that can be passed across generations. EMBATTLED is a potent piece of work, fueled by powerful performances from Stephen Dorff and Darren Mann, and just the type of rich and textured filmmaking that we support.”

Director Nick Sarkisov added, “EMBATTLED was truly a labor of love for us, and IFC Films is the perfect partner to take it to audiences nationwide. This is an authentic, moving story about family and the complicated relationship that can exist between fathers and sons. It struck a chord with me, and is sure to do the same with everyone who sees our film.”

The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films’ EVP of Acquisitions and Productions Arianna Bocco and Director of Acquisitions Aijah Keith with CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers.


Established in 2000 and based in New York City, IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of independent film. Its unique distribution model makes independent films available to a national audience by releasing them in theaters as well as on cable’s Video On Demand (VOD) and digital platforms.


Upcoming releases include THE TRUTH directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu and Shannon Murphy’s BABYTEETH.  Some of the company’s successes over the years have included BOYHOOD, THE DEATH OF STALIN, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, THE BABADOOK, TOUCHING THE VOID, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, CHE, SUMMER HOURS, ANTICHRIST, IN THE LOOP, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, TINY FURNITURE, and CARLOS. IFC Films has worked with established and breakout filmmakers, including Steven Soderbergh, Gus Van Sant, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Miranda July, Lars Von Trier, Gaspar Noé, Todd Solondz, Cristian Mungiu, Susanne Bier, Olivier Assayas, Jim McKay, Larry Fessenden, Paul Dano, Gregg Araki, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, Abdellatif Kechiche, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Abbas Kiarostami, Alfonso Cuaron, Noah Baumbach, Lena Dunham, Ethan Hawke and many more. IFC Films is a sister label to Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.



Blitz Films is a production and financing company behind film and television series which focus on hard hitting character-driven stories.  Founded by Sergey and Nikolay Sarkisov and headed by producer Eryl Cochran, Blitz Films focuses on pursuing unique stories that engage audiences around the globe and also embraces first-time filmmakers.

Blitz recently completed EMBATTLED, written by David McKenna (American History X) and directed by Nikolay Sarkisov.  This fall the company will also be releasing LET’S SCARE JULIE, a true one take film, in partnership with Shout! Factory. The company is currently in development on the television series, SULTANA, set during the Ottoman Empire.