The film A Little Prayer by Winston-Salem’s Angus MacLachlan has been acquired for theatrical release by Sony Pictures Classics. It’s been 18 years since the filmmaker saw his work premiered at the Sundance Film Festival — and it was worth the wait.

The new small-scale dramedy that he wrote and directed began generating interest before the festival opened, landing a spot on Sundance’s 20 Buzziest Movies for Sale in 2023, by entertainment and media magazine The Wrap. Then came the rave reviews from outlets like the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

MacLachlan says while the critical acceptance was important, potential film distributors were laser-focused on audience reaction to the screening which he calls “incredibly anxiety producing.”

Thankfully for MacLachlan, he needn’t have worried.

"Our premiere was in a great theater, completely full, 500 seats, and with fantastic sound and picture," says MacLachlan. "And film festival audiences are very enthusiastic because they’re there because they love films. So, it went great. It got lots of laughs, there were tissues and sniffles at the end, and it couldn’t have gone better."

MacLachlan says early buzz, good reviews, and positive audience reaction all contribute to achieving what he calls the main aim: finding a distributor. That happened less than 24 hours after the premiere when Sony Pictures Classics — the same company that released MacLachlan’s 2005 Indie hit Junebug — agreed to purchase the worldwide rights to the new film.

A Little Prayer written and directed by Winston-Salem filmmaker Angus MacLachlan is available for streaming through Sunday.

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