Cheerleading Drama ‘Backspot’, Starring Devery Jacobs, Evan Rachel Wood & Exec-Produced By Elliot Page, Gets U.S. Deal

EXCLUSIVE: XYZ Films has acquired U.S. and Australia/NZ rights to distribute the TIFF sports drama Backspot, directed by first-time feature filmmaker D.W. Waterson and starring Devery Jacobs (Reservation Dogs) and Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld). 

XYZ Films will release the film domestically and has set a theatrical release for spring of 2024.  

The rights deal was negotiated by UTA Independent Film Group with James Emanuel Shapiro from XYZ Films.  In the film, an ambitious cheerleader (Jacobs) faces both new adversity and the increased drive for perfection and triumph when she and her girlfriend are selected for an all-star cheer squad with an overbearing head coach (Evan Rachel Wood). 

The film was written by Joanne Sarazen with a story by D.W. Waterson, and is produced by Alona Metzer, D.W. Waterson, Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs and Martin Katz, and is executive-produced by Elliot Page, Matthew Jordan Smith, J.C. Davidson and Katisha Shaw, with Nikki Yee co-producing. The film was produced with the participation of Telefilm and Ontario Creates, in association with Crave and CBC and with the financial participation of Shaw Rocket Fund and Rogers Telefund.

Also starring are Kudakwashe Rutendo, Thomas Antony Olajide (Learn to Swim), Noa Diberto, Olunike Adeliyi (The Porter), with Wendy Crewson (On the Basis of Sex) and Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale). 

What do you do after you’ve just seen the best cheerleading movie since Bring It On? If you’re a distributor, you beg the filmmakers to let you work on the film. I’m so grateful and excited the filmmakers chose us as their partners on Backspot and cannot wait to share this film with audiences next year,” said XYZ’s James Emanuel Shapiro.   

“The Backspot filmmaking team is thrilled to partner with American distributor XYZ Films. Their collection of work is elevated, their roster of emerging filmmakers is impressive, and we are grateful for Backspot to be listed among them. Through conversations, XYZ has proven their deep understanding of our kick*ss cheerleading film and has been a steadfast champion. We are so excited to see where this partnership takes Backspot,” said the producers.