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Film Acquisition Rundown: Strand Releasing Picks Up ‘The Transfiguration,’ Oscilloscope Takes ‘The Alchemist Cookbook’ To BitTorrent And More

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.

“The Transfiguration”

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.

– L.A.-based outfit Strand Releasing has acquired U.S. rights to Michael O’Shea’s Cannes premiere “The Transfiguration.” The film was sold by Protagonist Pictures at Toronto, and it marks the feature debut of writer-director Michael O’Shea. The atmospheric feature puts a new spin on the vampire movie.

“Mr. O’Shea’s film is a unique hybrid that audiences and critics will be compelled by,” said Strand Releasing’s partner Jon Gerrans, who discovered the film at Cannes. No word yet on release plans.

– Oscilloscope Laboratories has announced that Joel Potrykus’s latest dark comedy, “The Alchemist Cookbook,” will be available worldwide for pay-what-you-wish via BitTorrent Now on October 7, before it screens in select theaters across the country. The film premiered at SXSW and played many other festivals earlier this year, including BAMcinemaFest and Fantasia. Written and directed by Potrykus, the film stars Ty Hickson and Amari Cheatom.

Hired Gun

“Hired Gun”

EXCLUSIVE: Vision Films has acquired the feature-length documentary “Hired Gun” for worldwide sales. The film, which premiered at this year’s SXSW, introduces music fans to the world’s most prolific unknown musicians who have played with musical legends such as Billy Joel, P!NK, Ozzy Osbourne, Metalilca, Bon Jovi, Rod Stewart, Alice Cooper and many more, featuring exclusive interviews and performances.

“Hired Gun” also premiered in Australia at Melbourne International Film Festival, and in the UK at Glastonbury Music Festival this year, and will premiere in Canada at the Calgary International Film Festival on September 30.

– Kino Lorber has announced the acquisition of Felix E. Feist’s extraordinary 1933 disaster film, “Deluge,” newly restored in 2k by Lobster Films, Paris. The film “is a tour-de-force of astonishing special effects that rank alongside those of other such classics of the decade as ‘King Kong’ and ‘San Francisco.’ Triggered by a series of earthquakes on the West Coast of the United States, a massive tidal wave circles the globe and — in a prolonged and spectacular special effects sequence — wipes out New York City. Sidney Blackmer stars as a man who, separated from his family, must begin to rebuild civilization in the wake of the catastrophe.”

“Deluge” was long considered a lost film, but horror/sci-fi archivist Forrest J. Ackerman discovered an Italian-dubbed print in 1981. In 2016, Lobster Films unearthed a 35mm nitrate negative with the original English soundtrack.

– Freestyle Digital Media, the recently acquired Digital Film Distribution division of Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, has acquired the North American rights to the romantic comedy “Do Over.” The film, directed by Ryan Francis, stars Drew Seeley, Jonathan Bennett, Zack Lively, Amy Paffrath, and Gina Field.

The film “hilariously asks the following question — what if you could go back and try that ‘first time’ again?” It will debut  on VOD through Freestyle Digital Media on October 11, with select theatrical showings to follow.

– Film Movement, the New York-based film distributor of first-run, award-winning foreign and independent films, announced at the Toronto International Film Festival its acquisition of Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s “Glory.” The film is “a modern-day morality tale about a railway linesman who discovers a small fortune on the railroad tracks, but doesn’t feel he is adequately rewarded after he returns the money.” The film debuted at the Locarno International Film Festival last month.

Film Movement has acquired U.S. and English-speaking Canadian rights to the film and will open it theatrically in early 2017.



– Bleecker Street and Participant Media have announced they have jointly acquired North American rights to “Breathe,” directed by Andy Serkis. Written by twice Academy Award nominated William Nicholson and shot by legendary, three-time Academy Award winner Robert Richardson, the film tells “the inspirational, life-affirming true-life story of Robin Cavendish (played by Andrew Garfield) a handsome, brilliant and adventurous man whose life takes a dramatic turn when polio leaves him almost totally paralyzed.”

Andrew Karpen, CEO of Bleecker Street said of the buy, “We were so moved by William’s script and the powerful and inspirational story of Robin and Diana’s lives. We are really excited to be working with Andy, Imaginarium and Embankment on such a joyous and beautiful story.”

– Saban Films has announced that they have acquired U.S. distribution rights to “The Hunter’s Prayer,” directed by Jonathan Mostow and starring Sam Worthington and newcomer Odeya Rush. John Brancato and Michael Ferris adapted the action-thriller from Kevin Wignall’s critically acclaimed novel, “For the Dogs.”

The film “follows Lucas (Worthington), a solitary assassin, hired to kill a young woman, Ella, (Rush), who is unaware that her family’s questionable business dealings have cost them their lives. However, when Lucas can’t bring himself to pull the trigger, the two form a bond and escape across Europe together, hunted by those responsible for her family’s murder.”

– Y Production has announced a distribution deal with Mark Urman’s Paladin for a February, 2017 nationwide theatrical release of “The Ottoman Lieutenant,” billed as “sweeping epic adventure and timeless love story.” The film stars Michiel Huisman, Hera Hilmar, Josh Hartnett and Academy Award winner Sir Ben Kingsley.

The film “tells the story of a beautiful, strong-willed woman (Hera Hilmar), who, frustrated by ongoing injustice at home, leaves the United States after meeting Jude, an American doctor (Josh Hartnett) who runs a remote medical mission within the Ottoman Empire — a world both exotic and dangerous, and on the brink of what is about to become the first World War.  There, she finds her loyalty to Jude and the mission’s founder, (Ben Kingsley) tested when she falls in love with their perceived enemy, a lieutenant in the Ottoman Imperial Army (Michiel Huisman).  Now, with invading army forces at their doorstep, and the world about to plunge into all-out war, she must decide if she wants to be what other people want her to be, or to be herself.”

"All We Had"

“All We Had”

Gravitas Ventures

– Gravitas Ventures has secured North American rights to Katie Holmes’ coming-of-age drama “All We Had,” which premiered earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film is based on Annie Weatherwax’s 2014 novel of the same name. Holmes also stars with Stefania Owen, Luke Wilson, Richard Kind, Mark Consuelos, Judy Greer and Eve Lindley.

The film follows “difteen-year-old Ruthie Carmichael (Owen) [who] makes the best of her mother Rita’s (Holmes) hard luck. From escaping an abusive boyfriend, to living out of their car, and going flat broke – the duo continues to find themselves in search of a home and stability. This coming of age story explores the emotional bond between a mother and a daughter who overcome hardship by depending on their strength in each other.” “All We Had” will be available in theaters and On Demand on December 9.

– Rocking Films and Dana Lustig Productions have announced that Kino Lorber has acquired all North American distribution rights to director Oren Shai’s debut feature film, “The Frontier,” billed as “a noir thriller penned by Shai and Webb Wilcoxen, about a female drifter who discovers a violent gang of thieves at a desert motel and hatches a plan to escape with their stolen cash.” The film was an official selection of SXSW 2015. Select theatrical engagements will be followed by a DVD/Blu-ray/multi-platform VOD release.

– Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired North American distribution rights to Henry Alberto’s punk-infused, Romeo and Julietesque drama “Hara Kiri.” The film premiered at Philadelphia qFLIX in 2016 and will play New Orleans Film Festival this November. The film stars Mojean Aria, Jesse Pimentel, and Ruth Connell.

Breaking Glass is planning a Los Angeles theatrical release for Winter 2016 with DVD/VOD to follow on November 8.

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