Gravitas Ventures has picked up rights to acclaimed thriller The Violent Heart, written and directed by Kerem Sanga (First Girl I Loved).

The movie had its world premiere at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and played the Deauville American Film Festival, and will release in theaters and on demand on February 19, 2021.

The Violent Heart stars Jovan Adepo, Grace Van Patten, Lukas Haas, Mary J. Bilge, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Jahi Di’Allo Winston and Cress Williams.

As a nine-year-old, Daniel witnessed the murder of his teenage sister whose killer was never caught. Now 24, Daniel (Jovan Adepo) is struggling to find his place in the world and live up to the high bar set by his father, a decorated Marine stationed in Afghanistan. After serving time for injuring a classmate in a high school fight, Daniel lives at home with his mother and younger brother and does oil changes at a local auto shop, but dreams of joining the Marines. His outlook brightens when he meets Cassie (Grace Van Patten), an outgoing, college-bound high school senior who finds his quiet manner and mysterious air a refreshing change from the boys her age. But when deeply buried secrets of their small town are revealed, reverberations of the violent past threaten to tear the couple apart. Award-winning director Kerem Sanga directs this contemporary Romeo & Juliet-style thriller set in the American heartland. The movie also stars Mary J. Blige, Lukas Haas, and Jahi Di’Allo Winston.

The film is a 21 Laps production. Producers Edward L. McDonnell, Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen, Matthew Plouffe, Tobey Maguire and P. Jennifer Dana. Executive Producers are Max A. Butler, David Hunter and Ross Putnam, Ross Jacobson and Richard Weinberg.

“This film has been such a special project to bring to life with this incredible cast, producers and crew,” said Kerem Sanga. “I’m really pleased Gravitas has picked up the film and is releasing it so we can share it with everyone.”

“Anchored by the stirring lead performances of Jovan Adepo and Grace Van Patten, Kerem weaves together a love story and murder mystery in a stylish balancing act of tone. We look forward to unveiling the film to U.S. audiences,” said Tony Piantedosi, Vice President of Acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures.

Tony Piantedosi, Vice President of Acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures negotiated the deal with Endeavor Content who sold the film and is handling worldwide sales.