02/19/18 US theatrical deals for ‘Occupation’ and ‘Mountain’

Luke Sparke’s sci-fi thriller Occupation and Jennifer Peedom’s feature doc Mountain are the latest Aussie films to secure theatrical distribution in the US.

Saban Films will release Occupation, which stars Temuera Morrison, Jacqueline McKenzie, Dan Ewing, Bruce Spence, Felix Williamson, Stephany Jacobsen and Trystan Go and follows the last survivors after a devastating intergalactic attack on Earth.

Morrison plays a father who is desperate to protect his wife and kids. Ewing is a former footballer who has fallen on hard times and is engaged to Jacobsen’s character, with Go as her brother

Clay Epstein’s Film Mode Entertainment also confirmed sales for Sparke’s film, his follow-up to Red Billabong, to the UK (Altitude Films), Japan (Gaga), South Korea (Scene and Sound) and Germany (Ascot-Elite).

Recently Saban ramped up its slate with two Sundance Film Festival acquisitions, Craig William Macneill’s Lizzie, which stars Chloë Sevigny as accused murderess Lizzie Borden and Kristen Stewart as her maid, and Alexandre Moors’ The Yellow Birds, an Iraq war drama featuring Tye Sheridan, Alden Ehrenreich, Toni Collette, Jason Patric, Jack Huston and Jennifer Aniston.

Saban’s slate includes Brad Silberling’s war thriller An Ordinary Man, which follows Ben Kingsley as war criminal who forms a relationship with his only connection to the outside world, his maid played by Hera Hilmar, who stars in Peter Jackson’s upcoming Mortal Engines; and Pasha Patriki’s action thriller Black Water, which pairs Jean-Claude Van Damme with Dolph Lundgren.

Sparke tells IF: “Saban is a perfect fit with our genre of film and their audience as well as their eagerness for the project.” Pinnacle Films will distribute in Australia.

Greenwich Entertainment will release Peedom’s innovative cinematic and musical odyssey in the US on May 25. Produced by Stranger than Fiction Films’ Jo-anne McGowan and Peedom, the film was the highest-grossing non-IMAX theatrical doc in Australia, boosted by live performances with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

The international sales agent Dogwoof released the film theatrically in the UK where it ran for 10 weeks, pre-sold the title to Germany’s DCM and did deals with numerous other markets including Japan (Tomorrow Films), Canada (Kinosmith) and Russia (Russian Report).

Ed Arentz, the co-founder and former managing director of Music Box Films, and Edmondo Schwartz, co-founder of Cohen Media Group, launched Greenwich Entertainment last September with the goal to distribute six to eight high-end theatrical releases per year.

Peedom was impressed with Arentz’s expertise at Music Box Films when he released Meru, a 2015 documentary which chronicled the first ascent of the “Shark’s Fin” route on Meru Peak in the Himalayas.

“I had a long talk to Ed. He understands how to handle niche films,” she tells IF.

Arentz said Peedom has created a “soaring, enthralling achievement” that should be seen on the big screen and will be available in a 4K version.


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