Bronte Pictures clinches sales deals on three projects

‘Escape and Evasion.’

Bronte Pictures is set to produce four features next year after signing deals for two films and a feature documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Pascal Borno’s Conquistador Entertainment acquired worldwide rights to Storm Ashwood’s thriller Escape and Evasion, which follows a soldier who returns home in search of solace after his men are killed in Burma.

Instrum International agreed to handle global sales on Around the World, a documentary on freestyle football written and directed by David Amouzegh, Tom Cheve and Clement Reubrecht.

Vertical Entertainment collared North American rights to Ashwood’s debut feature The School, a supernatural horror/thriller which Bronte Pictures co-produced with Lunar Pictures’ Jim Robison.

The film starring Megan Drury as a surgeon whose son has fallen into a coma and who becomes trapped in an abandoned school where she is threatened by feral children, will open in US cinemas on October 26 and in Australia/New Zealand on November 22 via The Backlot Films.

“TIFF was a great success for us. Closing these deals now gives us the perfect preparation leading up to a sales launch at AFM in November and hopefully being in a position to then screen all films at the Berlin Film Festival marketplace,” Bronte Pictures CEO Blake Northfield tells IF.

“We’re excited to explore different sales agents and to get to know the way in which they work differently. In this day and age with the market so tough, it’s nice to see Australian content still being strongly supported.”

In Escape and Evasion Josh McConville plays Seth, the sole survivor of a mission gone wrong. Bonnie Sveen is Rebecca, whose brother Josh (Hugh Sheridan) was one of the casualties. She confronts Seth, who reports her to his Major (Rena Owen). Firass Dirani plays Welshy, one of four soldiers on the mission, with Steve Le Marquand as Carl, an ex-soldier who lives in Myanmar.

“We met with Pascal in Cannes two years and were really impressed with the way he and his team do business. They only sell a select few films at the one time so you’re their priority rather than just another film on their slate,” says Northfield, who produced with Jane Corden.

Screen Queensland and Chinese investors supported the production which was shot on the border of Myanmar and Thailand and in the Queensland rainforests. Rialto will distribute in Oz, tentatively next September.

Co-financed by Bronte Pictures and Mind the Gap, Around the World follows the journeys of 10 freestylers from different cultures and backgrounds to the Freestyle Football World Cup- the sport’s biggest prize.

Instrum International will sell the project in two formats: a feature doc and a 6-part series. Umbrella Entertainment’s Jeff Harrison recommended the sales agent to Northfield. Instrum’s Ryan Keller said: “Not only do the stories in the film shed light on shared human qualities of perseverance and hope, which we could certainly use more exposure to right now, these competitors are just plain fun to watch.”

Northfield is hoping for a worldwide VOD deal so he has kept the Australian/NZ rights open.

The 2019 production slate includes writer-director Tyson Johnston’s Streamline, a drama about a gifted 15-year-old swimmer whose life spirals out of control when his long-absent father turns up, triggering his childhood trauma. It will be the feature debut of Johnston, who made several shorts including Lunar, Seed and Exit.

Bronte Pictures is developing an untitled thriller with Kristian Moliere and Julie Byrne’s Triptych Pictures, a film to be directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse (title also under wraps) and a feature doc which is yet to be announced.

Northfield concludes: “We are also looking at international production and are committed to growing the industry here, giving first-time directors like Storm Ashwood a go whilst also working with established directors such as Jocelyn Moorhouse.”