After over a year on the festival circuit and months of speculation, it was finally confirmed today that Issa López's Tigers Are Not Afraid has been acquired by AMC-owned horror-centric streaming service, Shudder for a release in late 2019. The film had its world premiere at 2017's Fantastic Fest, where López won an award for best director, and has been blowing minds all over the world in the eighteen months since, leading many of us - myself included - to wonder where it would eventually end up.
Today Shudder announced the acquisition of all rights to the film in all Shudder territories (USA, UK, Canada, and coming soon in Australia and New Zealand), with a late 2019 launch date. Our Shelagh Rowan-Legg reviewed the film in 2017 and had this to say:
A cautionary fable, an unflinching look at the damages of drug culture, and a ray of hope to the end of that culture, Tigers Are Not Afraid is a work of immense beauty, pain, fear and joy. Encompassing a vast thematic structure in an incredible effective and affective story, López puts herself firmly on the map of the current new wave of Mexican cinema.
It's truly a stunning film that deserves a large audience, let's hope that it finally finds one. Here are the details from Shudder:
APRIL 18, 2019 — It’s been called “one of 2018’s best undistributed films” (SlashFilm) and “the best Guillermo del Toro movie he never made” (iO9). Now you can also call it a Shudder Exclusive. Shudder, AMC Networks’ streaming service for horror, thrillers and the supernatural, announced today that it has picked up all rights to writer/director Issa Lopez’s acclaimed feature Tigers Are Not Afraid across all its territories. The film is set to premiere on Shudder later this year.
“I’m incredibly happy to announce that Shudder will distribute Tigers Are Not Afraid for English-language audiences,” said Lopez. “Shudder is an outstanding curator of the best and the weirdest of international fantastic cinema, including many of my favorite new movies from trailblazing filmmakers. The opportunity to have Tigers Are Not Afraid among them is an absolute honor.”
“Tigers Are Not Afraid is a horror fable for the ages, as moving as it is frightening thanks to Issa’s fearless imagination,” said Shudder GM Craig Engler. “We are honored and excited to share this powerful film with our members.”
Filmmaker Issa Lopez has been showered with praise for her work from such luminaries as Guillermo del Toro and Stephen King, who tweeted: “this is one terrific film, both tough and touching. Two minutes in, I was under its spell.” Del Toro, who has called Lopez “a fantastic new voice in the genre,” is executive producing one of her forthcoming projects, a supernatural western. She is also developing a musical about Latino culture in Queens, NY for Paramount Pictures, and a supernatural revenge thriller for Legendary.
Tigers Are Not Afraid premiered at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, where it earned Best Director honors. It went on to pick up more than 50 awards around the world, including Best Feature at Screamfest, Mórbido, Boston Underground, Chattanooga, Toronto After Dark, and Amsterdam Imagine International Fantastic Film Festival. The film won both Jury and Audience awards at Paris Fantastic Film Fest, the Silver Raven and Audience Awards at Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, and ten nominations and two wins at the Ariel Awards, Mexico’s equivalent to the Oscars.
Lopez’s film uses horror and fantasy to deliver a moving portrait of the dire circumstances of the children left behind by Mexico’s brutal drug wars. Estrella (a mesmerizing Paolo Lara) is ten-years-old and alone. Given three magical wishes, she asks first that her missing mother come back, and she does... from the dead. Fearful of the ghost she believes she’s invoked, Estrella escapes to the streets and earns her way into a gang of other children, orphaned by cartel violence. But soon Estrella discovers you can never really leave the dead behind.
Marco Polo Constandse’s Filmadora Nacional and Issa Lopez’ Peligrosa are the film’s producers.
The deal was negotiated by Emily Gotto on behalf of Shudder, and Paradigm on behalf of the filmmakers. Issa Lopez is represented by Paradigm and Hirsch Wallerstein.
With Tigers Are Not Afraid and the recently announced acquisition of Shinichiro Ueda’s One Cut of the Dead, Shudder continues to lead the way as an essential service for both genre fans and cinephiles alike. Recent Shudder Original and Shudder Exclusive films include Lizzie, Mandy, Revenge, and the documentary Horror Noire.
contributed to this story.