IFC Films Buys Jim Cummings Thriller ‘The Beta Test’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Brent Lang
·2-min read

IFC Films has acquired U.S. rights to “The Beta Test,” a new digital-age thriller that was written, directed by and starring Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe.

The film was an official selection for this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. IFC will release “The Beta Test” theatrically, on digital platforms and on demand later this fall. The film centers on an engaged Hollywood agent, who receives a mysterious letter for an anonymous sexual encounter and becomes ensnared in a sinister world of lying, infidelity and digital data.

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“I cannot wait for everybody to see this movie, it is so much fun,” Cummings said. “We raised the budget through crowd-equity, we shot the film with our friends, we edited and finished the film from our homes. Our audience helped make this wild, beautiful film possible and we are anxious to get to share it with people. I can’t think of a better launching pad for the film than IFC, this was truly an independent film made by independent filmmakers and I’m beyond thrilled that we get to work with their amazing team. Anyone can do this, and I hope all of you do.”

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman liked what Cummings offered up, praising “The Beta Test” as “at once a film-world satire, an erotic thriller, and a meditation on identity” and saying that it “holds you in its grip.”

Cummings first earned critical acclaim for his DIY approach to filmmaking with his breakout “Thunder Road,” which won a narrative feature prize at SXSW in 2018. That production expanded on a 2016 short film that he directed and was made possible through an extensive Kickstarter campaign. Cummings went on to write, direct and star in MGM’s “The Wolf of Snow Hollow,” a comedy horror film that was released in 2020.

Rounding out the cast of “The Beta Test” is Virginia Newcomb, Kevin Changaris, Olivia Grace Applegate, Jessie Barr, Keith Powell, Joy Sunday, Wilkey Lau, Malin Barr and Christian Hillborg.

Natalie Metzger, Matt Miller and Benjamin Wiessner of Vanishing Angle produced the film. Serving as executive producers are Douglas Choi with Sons of Rigor Films, John Jeffrey Martin with DiffeRant Productions, Jake Orthwein, Alex Rudolph and Matthew Stewart.

“Jim and PJ embody the same independent ethos that IFC Films has upheld for over 20 years,” said Arianna Bocco, president of IFC Films. “And alongside Vanishing Angle — another company that is consistently on the cutting-edge — they have brought to life a film that speaks directly to what audiences really want — energetic, boundary-pushing entertainment.”

The deal for the film was negotiated by Bocco with Vanishing Angle, which represented the filmmakers.

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