Sony Pictures Entertainment - 05/24/2019

Topic Studios Produced and Financed the Film which Premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival

NEW YORK (May 24, 2019) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all rights worldwide, excluding France and German speaking Europe, to Michael Angelo Covino’s THE CLIMB. The film premiered at the 2019 Cannes International Film Festival.

Directed by Covino and written by Covino and Kyle Marvin, the film stars Covino, Marvin, Gayle Rankin, Talia Balsam, George Wendt, and Judith Godrèche.

Kyle and Mike are best friends who share a close bond — until Mike sleeps with Kyle's fiancée. THE CLIMB is about a tumultuous but enduring relationship between two men across many years of laughter, heartbreak and rage. It is also the story of real-life best friends who turn their profound connection into a rich, humane and frequently uproarious film about the boundaries (or lack thereof) in all close friendships.

Topic Studios (Leave No Trace, Spotlight) produced and financed the film. Producers are Noah Lang, Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin. Executive Producers Michael Bloom, Ryan Heller Adam Pincus and Gilda Moratti.

“To know my first movie will open with the same logo as so many of my favorites is hard to fathom,” said Covino. "I can’t wait to work with Tom, Michael and the entire Sony Classics team to share it with the world.”

Said Sony Pictures Classics, “A new American independent voice just launched in Cannes. Emotionally intelligent, funny, hip and a little crazy, audiences everywhere will love it. And we are so thrilled to be releasing THE CLIMB around the world.”

"We are incredibly proud of Michael, Kyle and everyone who touched this exceptional film," said Maria Zuckerman, EVP of Topic Studios. “We’re also so happy to have Sony Pictures Classics as our partner to help audiences worldwide discover it.”

The deal was negotiated by Endeavor Content and Memento Films International on behalf of the filmmakers. 


Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992—which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world.  Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 39 Academy Awards® (35 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 173 Academy Award® nominations (151 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, WHIPLASH, AMOUR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, AND CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.


Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; a global channel network; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of entertainment in more than 142 countries. For additional information, go to 


Topic is the entertainment studio and ambitious storytelling brand, dedicated to supporting creators at the forefront of culture. From Academy Award®-winning films (Spotlight) to television (Losers), digital (aka Wyatt Cenac) and audio (Anthem, Missing Richard Simmons podcasts), we explore a wide range of subject matter, both fiction and nonfiction. Our approach – challenging, compelling and unconventional – reflects our commitment to discovering and amplifying independent new voices and supporting established ones. Feature films from Topic Studios include Debra Granik’s award-winning Leave No Trace; Julius Onah’s thriller Luce, acquired in partnership with NEON at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival; the political documentary Dark Money, from director Kimberly Reed; and Steven Soderbergh’s Panama Papers drama The Laundromat, starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, developed at Topic Studios alongside Grey Matter Productions.

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