Fans of Indonesian martial arts film Merantau
and star Iko Uwais, take heart: Though the film is still in production you're not going to have to wait long to see it.
International sales company Celluloid Nightmares have just announced a broad slate of distribution deals for the film with the wave led by the purchase of US rights by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions. In all there are now confirmed deals in place for the US (Sony), Canada (Alliance), the UK (Momentum), Australia (Madman), France (SND), Germany (Koch), Japan (Kadokawa), China (HGC) and Turkey (Calinos) with further deals currently being finalized that will cover the Benelux, East Asia and other territories. I'm not going to hit you with the full press release but here's the reaction from Scott Shooman of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions:In a Cannes market filled with serious award-caliber dramas, it was so refreshing to see someone get throat punched! We knew right away that we needed to get involved.
Shooman, it should be noted, is the same guy who picked up Black Dynamite
for US distribution and green lit most of (if not all) the US martial arts / action films in the Sony slate. The guy's knowledge of and enthusiasm for the genre is 100% legitimate.
On a more personal level I should point out that this is a project I've been involved with on at least a marginal level right from the beginning. XYZ Films - where I am a partner - are executive producers on it and were involved in the script development process and I had the chance to visit the set back in March. Writer-director Gareth Huw Evans has become a good friend over the years since we first met when he was making Merantau
and every interaction I've ever had with Uwais has been sterling. These are quality human beings putting their blood and sweat into making the sorts of films that they love and I feel a certain amount of pride in seeing their work recognized by so many high level companies from all around the world. Does my involvement make me biased? Sure. But the people who bought it aren't and they clearly saw the same things I do in what Evans and Uwais are doing.
When we first took the film to the market in Cannes we honestly weren't planning to sell it. It isn't done. None of the footage we brought is even close to being done. No color correction, no sound, no post effects of any kind. Just raw footage in rough cut form, presenting five of the film's major action set pieces. Our goal was nothing more than to start seeding the market and letting people know it was in the works so that they'd be ready for it when it was
done. But then people started getting excited and word got out and what you see above - plus a few other deals still pending - is the result.
The trailer is still a little ways away - see above comment about the footage not being done - but I've included the promo created for Action Fest below along with a gallery of stills.
A swat team arrives at a rundown apartment block with a mission to
remove its owner, a notorious drug lord named Tama. The building has
never been raided before, never been touched by police. Seen as a no go
zone it has since become a sanctuary to killers, gangs, rapists and
thieves seeking accommodation in the one place they know they cannot be
Making their move in the break of dawn the swat
team work their way up the building under cover of silence. But when a
chance encounter with a spotter blows their cover and with news of their
assault traveling to Tama in his penthouse suite the building is locked
down with all lights out and all exits blocked.
on the 6th floor the swat team must fight their way through every floor
and every room not just to complete their mission but to survive.