"Do you want to live deliciously?" - Black Phillip
The Witch (stylized as The VVitch and titled onscreen with the subtitle A New England Folktale) is a 2015 horror film written and directed by Robert Eggers, in his directorial debut. The plot follows a Puritan family encountering forces of evil in the woods beyond their New England farm, forces that may be either real or imagined. The Witch won the Directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic category at the 2015 Sundance FIlm Festival. The film was theatrically released on February 19, 2016, by A24.
A24 began in 2013. The company marked its first theatrical release with Roman Coppola's A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, which had a limited release. Other 2013 theatrical releases included Sally Potter's Ginger & Rosa, Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring and James Pondoldt's The Spectacular Now. In September 2013, A24 entered a $40 million dollar deal with DirecTV Cinema, where DirecTV Cinema will offer the film 30-days prior to a theatrical release by A24; Enemy was the first film to be distributed under the deal. In January 2016, Sarah Lloyd joined the company to handle all film and television distribution and business development in the international marketplace. The company received its first Academy Award for Best Picture nomination for Lenny Abrahamson's Room, as well as the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for Asif Kapadia's Amy.
The film was partially based on Eggers' childhood fascination with witches. After being unsuccessful at pitching films that were "too weird, too obscure", Eggers realized that he would have to make a more conventional film. He said at a Q&A, "If I'm going to make a genre film, it has to be personal and it has to be good."
Eggers wanted to film the picture in New England but the lack of tax incentives meant he had to settle for Canada. This proved to be somewhat of a problem for Eggers, because he could not find the forest environment he was looking for in country. They had to go "off the map", eventually finding a location (Kiosk, Ontario) that was "extremely remote"; Eggers said that the nearest town "made New Hampshire look like a metropolis".
The film was produced in several locations in what is known as Mattawa Voyageur Country.