Int'l rights nabbed for teen horror-laffer

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s Nail Filmed Entertainment has hit the international jackpot with its first feature film, “Slash.” The teen horror-laffer movie, in the genre of “Scream,” was snapped up by major international distributors after showing in Cannes, the first entirely South African-produced and created film to achieve this success.

Universal Studios picked up worldwide rights (excluding the United States) while Overseas Film Group/First Look Media bought the U.S./Canadian rights. Added to this, Scanbox (Scandinavia), Fu Works/A-Film (Benelux), Audiovisual (Greece), Ozenfilm (Turkey), EA Distribution (Russia), Jumbo (Thailand), and Cederland (Middle East) have acquired all rights in their territories.

Set in the U.S., “Slash” tells the story of a struggling rock ‘n’ roll band which visits the isolated Macdonald farm to attend the funeral of lead singer Mac Macdonald’s aunt. What they think will be a quick stopover turns into a bizarre nightmare of blood and murder as a mystery killer goes on a rampage.

Directed by South African director Neal Sundstrom (“Inside Out”), Slash was shot on a South African farm on a budget of just $3.5 million. The script was written by two of South Africa’s most well-known satirical writers and horror fans, Stephen Francis and Gus Silber.

The international and South African cast includes James O’Shea, Steve Railsback, Craig Kirkwood, Nick Boraine and Zuleika Robinson.

Nail Filmed Entertainment, the film division of South African black empowerment business giant Nail, was established two years ago and is unashamedly profit-driven. “Yes, we want to make profits for our investors. Our business strategy is to make movies that people around the world will want to buy a ticket for on a Saturday night. We always believed that ‘Slash’ would be a movie like that, and the reaction at Cannes has proved us right,” says CEO Amy Moore.

Moore, who has 20 years experience in all aspects of the international film and television industry from production and editing to writing and distribution, was recruited to come to South Africa and head Nail Filmed Entertainment with the aim of establishing a commercially viable film company in South Africa which could sell feature films to the international market. The division established units to take a project from creation to the theater: NAM Films, the production arm; Wild Coast Releasing, the distribution and sales arm; and Shout Africa, a low-budget movie training ground.

While many South African production companies are increasingly going the international co-production route, Moore wants NAM Films to show what South Africans are capable of doing on their own.

“NAM Films is less concerned with the subject matter than that a South African team should create and produce the project. Some stories will be South African, others will not. We are not trying to make the Great South African Movie. We may do it anyway, but that will be by chance as we produce films that sell internationally — and make a profit,” Moore says.

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