The Mule premiered in March at SXSW and now XLrator Media has acquired U.S. rights to the comedy thriller. Angus Sampson (Mad Max: Fury Road, Insidious) wrote, co-directed with Tony Mahony and stars in the pic along with Hugo Weaving (The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings, The Matrix) and Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious). Ewen Leslie, Geoff Morrell, Georgina Haig, Noni Hazlehurst and John Noble (The Lord Of The Rings, Fringe) also star. Based on true events, the 1983-set pic centers on a naive man who’s detained by Australian Federal Police with lethal narcotics hidden in his stomach. Alone and afraid, ‘the Mule’ makes a desperate choice – defy his bodily functions and withhold the evidence…literally. And by doing so becomes a human time-bomb, dragging cops, criminals and concerned family into his impossible escapade. Sampson also produces with Jane Liscombe and Michele Bennett, Whannell, David Griffiths, Angus Coupland and Troy Lum exec producing. Deal was negotiated by Barry Gordon on behalf of XLrator and Anick Poirier of Séville International (eOne Films International’s boutique sales arm) and Paradigm on behalf of the filmmakers. XLrator is planning a fall release via its Macabre genre label.
Séville International, the recently launched boutique sales arm of eOne Films International, will launch sales on Penélope Cruz-starrer Ma Ma at Cannes next month. The Spanish-language film will be distributed in Spain by eOne. Cruz plays a woman who reacts to a tragedy with a surge of life which leads her to experience the most unexpected situations “filled with humor and delicate happiness.” Luis Tosar and Asier Etxeandia also star. Cruz calls the film “an absolute passion project.” She’ll produce with director Julio Medem (Sex And Lucia) and Morena Films, in association with France’s Backup Media Group. Mare Nostrum is co-producing. The project fits with eOne Films International president Harold van Lier’s objective to source homegrown films for local distribution and world rights sold via Séville. The deal was negotiated by Alvaro Longoria of Morena Films and Joël Thibout of Backup with van Lier, and Jorge Vazquez and Igor Ibeas for eOne Films Spain.
Previously announced for a start this year, Séville International has set an official launch date of April 1, just in time for Cannes. The indie sales division of Entertainment One Films International is led by Montréal-based Vice President of International Sales Anick Poirier, with Natalie Kampelmacher promoted to Director of Sales. Séville will focus on art-house titles from Québec and put an emphasis on a greater number of new films from around the world. The slate will include pedigree titles with awards potential to follow in the footsteps of such films as Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts Of The Southern Wild, David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom and the upcoming Mommy from Xavier Dolan. Taking advantage of eOne’s network in Canada, Spain, the UK, Benelux and Australia/New Zealand, Poirier and her team will source homegrown films for local distribution and world rights. While Séville will work with art-house fare, London-based eOne Films International is shifting to more commercial titles for direct distribution and world sales. Poirier, who joined eOne when it acquired Les Films Séville in 2008, reports to eOne Films International President Harold van Lier who joined the company in January armed with a $100M acquisitions fund.