International buyers take the plunge on Andrew Traucki’s ‘Black Water: The Abyss’

Maeve Dermody in ‘Black Water.’

Producer Michael Robertson and director Andrew Traucki are in the enviable position of having covered three-quarters of the budget of Black Water: The Abyss five months before shooting is due to start.

Pre-sales to numerous territories in Asia and parts of Europe and to Universal Pictures for Australasia have raised at least half of the budget of the sequel to Traucki and David Nerlich’s 2007 survival horror/thriller Black Water.

So factoring in the 40 per cent Producer Offset, the producers are well placed financially and they have plenty of upside as they are holding back on deals for the US and most major European territories.

At the European Film Market in Berlin Altitude Film Sales pre-sold the film to a raft of distributors including Infotainment (China), Panorama (Hong Kong), MVP (India), PT Amero (Indonesia), Adler (Italy), Korea (Korea Screen), CDC (Latin America) and Golden Screen (Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar).

Other buyers included Gulf (Middle East), Cinemundo (Portugal), Selectavision (Spain), Impuls (Switzerland), Cai Chang (Taiwan), Mono (Thailand) and ATV (Turkey).

Robertson, who is producing with Traucki and Neal Kingston, tells IF, “Some of the MGs (minimum guarantees) are greater than we got 10 years ago for Black Water, despite the general lack of pre-sales. We have bucked the trend. There is certainly an appetite for genre films.”

Inspired by the true story of a crocodile attack in the Northern Territory in 2003, the original starred Diana Glenn, Maeve Dermody and Andy Rodoreda and centred on three holiday makers who get stranded in a tree in a flooded swamp after their boat is attacked by a croc.

Directed by Traucki and scripted by Sarah Smith and Ian John Ridley, the sequel follows Eric and Jennifer, a young, adventure-loving couple who convince their friends Yolanda and Viktor to explore a remote, uncharted cave system in the forests of Northern Australia.

With a storm approaching, they abseil into the mouth of the cave, which starts to flood and they find themselves threatened by a pack of crocodiles. Long-kept secrets emerge and the friends turn on each other in a fight for survival.

For the role of Jennifer the producers are looking to cast either a US actor or high-profile Australian. The aim is to shoot in August/September, probably in Queensland because the production requires a water tank.

They see the film as the beginning of a franchise.