First-time Georgian filmmaker Gela Babluani's "13 (Tzameti)," winner of this year's world cinema grand jury prize for dramatic feature at the Sundance Film Festival, has been acquired by Palm Pictures, the company announced Thursday. David Koh, head of acquisitions and production for Palm Pictures and Florence Stern, head of international sales for MK2 negotiated the deal, which includes U.S. and Caribbean rights. Palm Pictures plans a platform theatrical release this autumn, followed by a DVD Release on the Palm label.
"13 (Tzameti),"which won the best first film award last year at the Venice Film Festival, and will screen at this year's upcoming New Directors/New Films series in New York, is the story of Sebastian, played by George Babluani, who develops a scheme to make easy money for his poor family by intercepting a package meant for a deceased gangster. According to a Palm release, "things take a turn for the absolute worse, and he finds himself in a deadly situation: as an unwilling participant in a high stakes underground game of Russian roulette. Each man must draw straws and take their chance, until one man is left standing."
"13 (Tzameti)" is a true discovery. It's a mix of 'Rififi,' 'Man Bites Dog' and 'Fight Club,'" commented Koh in a statement. "It reminds me of old French noir crime thrillers - one of my favorite genres of film. We are proud to work with Gela Babluani on the release of his incredible debut film to bring it to the largest audience possible in the U.S. It should become a cult classic."
Palm's current and upcoming projects include "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things" by Asia Argento based on the book by JT Leroy, "Sun Dogs" by Andrew Stewart, "Lower City" by Sergio Machado and produced by Walter Salles, and Olivier Assayas' "Clean." Palm Pictures is Chris Blackwell's audio/visual entertainment company and produces, acquires, and distributes independent film & music projects. Blackwell is the founder of Island Records, Island Pictures and Island Outpost.