'Fargo'-inspired 'Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter' gets U.S. distribution

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Image Credit: Sean Porter

Amplify has acquired the U.S. rights to Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, a stunning folk tale of a lonely, isolated Japanese woman (Rinko Kikuchi) who unearths a warped VHS tape of Fargo and takes it for truth, putting her on an epic, continent-spanning quest to find the money that Steve Buscemi’s Carl Showalter buries in the Minnesota snow in the Coen brothers’ 1996 masterpiece.

A release date has yet to be announced for the film, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and is loosely inspired by an urban legend. “We’re incredibly proud of Kumiko, it has been a labor of love for Nathan [Zellner], our producing partner Chris [Ohlson], and myself for many years,” said director David Zellner. “It’s a cinematic quest made for the big screen and we can’t wait to share it with a wider audience.”

Producer Cameron Lamb added: “Kumiko is a captivating journey from start to finish—with a performance by Rinko that is daring and inspirational while devastatingly mesmerizing, set alongside a stunningly visual landscape.”

At Sundance, David Zellner told EW he was conscious of avoiding the whimsy trap when telling this story—a difficult feat when Kumiko’s only friend in the world is a bunny named Bunzo. “We didn’t want it too be cutesy. That would trivialize the character and her plight,” he said. “You can laugh at situational stuff, but we wanted everyone to be rooting for her and for the stakes to be as high for the audience watching as they are for her in that moment. As soon as you stigmatize someone and separate them, it’s easier for you to distance yourself to not relate to them as a human being. It was essential to us that you relate to her on a very human level and that you believe in her quest and you want her to succeed,” he added.

“We haven’t been able to stop talking about this film, and we think audiences will feel the same way,” said Amplify’s Dylan Marchetti. “The last 20 minutes will simply melt your brain.”


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