SXSW Thriller ‘Barracuda’ Is a Sinister Drama Coming to Theaters This Fall

Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of everything that’s been picked up around the globe. Check out last week’s Rundown here.

Orion Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films have acquired the U.S. rights to Julie Halperin and Jason Cortlund’s suspense drama “Barracuda.” The film premiered in competition at SXSW and was nominated for a Grand Jury Award in the Narrative Feature category.

Co-directed by Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin and written by Cortlund, “Barracuda” stars Allison Tolman, Sophie Reid, JoBeth Williams and Luis Bordonada and features live music performances by Butch Hancock, Bob Livingston, Colin Gilmore, The Mastersons, and The Harvest Thieves.

The film follows a woman named Merle (Tolman), whose life begins to splinter when the half-sister she never knew existed, Sinaloa, (Sophie Reid) appears on her doorstep in Texas. Initially distrustful of this enigmatic woman, a bond quickly forms between the two sisters. As Merle allows Sinaloa into her life, Sinaloa reveals a quiet fury to Merle through her music. Sinaloa’s fierce attachment places Merle’s career aspirations, her relationship to her mother, and even her impending marriage in jeopardy. Merle fights to keep her world together while Sinaloa’s increasingly intense and erratic behavior threatens to erupt into something much darker.

“It’s been encouraging to hear audiences have such enthusiastic reactions to a character-driven story about complex female relationships,” Halperin said in a statement. “People are hungry for things they haven’t seen before.”

“Barracuda” was produced by David Hartstein and Nancy Schafer and executive produced by Henry V. Alfano, Bruce Beresford and Ian Brownell.

Check out the rest of our weekly Acquisitions Rundown after the break.

– Saban Films has acquired the North American rights to Taran Killam’s “Killing Gunther,” in which he stars alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bobby Moynihan, Hannah Simone, Cobie Smulders, Paul Brittain, Amir Talai, Aaron Yoo, Ryan Gaul and Allison Tolman. The action-comedy is produced by Killam, Kim Leadford, Ash Sarohia and Steve Squillante, and executive produced by Schwarzenegger. Saban Films is planning a theatrical release later this year. IMR International is handling the foreign rights.

“Killing Gunther”

Picasa

“Taran Killam’s immense talent on both sides of the camera is on full display in his impressive directorial debut,” said Bromiley. “We can’t wait for audiences to see Arnold Schwarzenegger in the type of role that has made him one of the most watchable and reliable stars of all time.” Killing Gunther tells the story of Gunther (Schwarzenegger), the world’s greatest hitman. There are plenty of reasons to want to kill him: he’s arrogant, he’s a show-off, and he steals jobs. The assassin community is tired of it. Determined to retire Gunther for good, a group of eccentric killers from across the globe come together to set the perfect trap. But their master plan quickly turns into a series of embarrassing fails as Gunther always appears one step ahead.

– The Orchard has acquired the worldwide digital rights to director Adam Bhala Lough’s documentary “Motivation 3: The Next Generation.” The third film in The Motivation documentary series takes a candid look inside the world of young skaters as they attempt to break into the intense world of professional skateboarding. The Orchard plans a release on digital services beginning in September.

“Motivation 3”

The Orchard

“Adam’s in-depth look inside the lives of top amateur and professional skateboarders is unprecedented,” Jim Martin, the Orchard’s head of sports, said in a statement. “Motivation 3” follows a group of some of the best, unknown skaters in the world as they compete at Tampa Am, the industry’s biggest amateur contest. The doc follows these skaters as they chase the title and take one step closer to their dream – sponsorship and the ability to one day get paid to do what they love.

– Gravitas Ventures has acquired James Morrison’s independent science fiction thriller, “Diverge.” The time-bending story follows a solitary survivor of a deadly virus who is given the chance to reclaim his lost life by stopping the man responsible for the disease. Gravitas will release the film on digital platforms and on VOD this fall.

“Diverge”

“Diverge is the kind of smart noir-influenced science fiction film that genre and independent filmgoers alike love,” Gravitas Ventures’ Josh Spector said in a statement. “Diverge” was developed as part of the inaugural Dogfish Accelerator program, which was the first incubator for independent filmmakers and production companies. In the summer of 2015 the film received the Top Prize at U.S. in Progress, a private sidebar competition of the Champs-Elysees Film Festival for films in post-production.

– Orion Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films have acquired the North American rights to first-time filmmaker Anthony Onah’s drama “The Price,” based on his short film, “Dara Ju.” “The Price” premiered in competition at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival and was nominated for the SXSW Grand Jury Award. It stars Aml Ameen, Lucy Griffiths, Bill Sage, Hope Olaide Wilson, Michael Hyatt, Peter Vack and Souléymane Sy Savané.

“The Price”

“The Price” is a look into Nigerian-Americans chasing the American dream, which is a story not often seen in film,” Peter Goldwyn, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films, said in a statement. Seyi, a bright young Nigerian-American working on Wall Street, must navigate complicated family expectations, a turbulent romantic relationship, and a system of cultural complexities caused by class and race. With a dying father, a burgeoning romance with a white girlfriend, and dangerous new business opportunities, his life is in a delicate balance. When his ambition drives Seyi to morally dubious waters, secrets threaten to erupt and shatter his world. He must confront himself and decisions he has made, facing the crimes of the past in a desperate attempt to salvage the present.

– Strand Releasing has acquired the North American rights to Ofir Raul Graizer’s “The Cakemaker.” The heartwarming drama captivated audiences at its unveiling at this year’s edition of Karlovy Vary, and deals with a German baker named Thomas, played by Tim Kalkhof, who falls in love with an Israeli businessman. When the business man dies in an accident, Thomas travels from Germany to Israel to connect with the man’s wife, and a bond is formed.

An Israeli-German co-production, “The Cakemaker” is produced by Itai Kamir from Laila Films and Mathias Schwerbrock at Film Base Berlin. Strand plans for an early 2018 release.The film has been acquired in Japan (Shin Nippon), Spain (Karma), Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay (Mirada) and Hungary (Cirko Films). Distributors also showed interest in France, UK, Germany, Czech republic and South Korea following the Karlovy Vary premiere.

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