Mandalay Bolsters Slate Following ‘Birth of a Nation’ Sale (EXCLUSIVE)

Mandalay Pictures has unveiled a trio of new projects shepherded by VP Jason Michael Berman following the Sundance sale of Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Mandalay recently bought David M. Crabtree’s script “Phasic,” which follows a young woman who is pursued by a group of supernatural hitmen after she gains the power to transform physical objects with her imagination. Crabtree, a Clio Award-winning commercial director, also wrote “For All Time” for Lionsgate.

Mandalay has also purchased “Apex” from Black List writers Dan Frey and Russell Sommer, centering on an up-and-coming female MMA fighter sidelined by a devastating injury. When a cutting-edge genetic research company offers her a unique chance to step back into the ring, she has to fight to keep her humanity alive.

Frey and Sommer developed “Apex” with visual effects expert Steven Ilous, who will direct. Ilous worked on “The Matrix” sequels and “The Polar Express” and is set to direct.

Frey and Sommer recently teamed on the limited series “Saint Patrick” at Fox and are writing two features at Paramount — “Eternal” at Disruption and an adventure film with David Goyer and Kevin Turen of Phantom Four.

Mandalay is also partnering with Radical Studios to produce “The Last Days of American Crime” from a script by Karl Gajdusek (“Oblivion”), based on the Radical Publishing novel written by Rick Remender. The film follows an unlikely team of criminals as they plan what will be the last heist in American history as the U.S. government prepares to broadcast a signal making it impossible for its citizens to commit crime.

Berman joins the producing team of Jesse Berger and Barry Levine (“Hercules,” “Oblivion”) on the project, which is currently out to directors.

Mandalay is one of four production companies and Berman is one of five producers on “The Birth of a Nation,” which sold to Fox Searchlight for a record $17.5 million at Sundance on Jan. 25.

Berman had previously announced a pair of projects for Netflix, both to be shot in the spring: “Amateur,” written and to be directed by Ryan Koo, about a a 14-year-old basketball phenom; and “Underground,” from director Gerard McMurrary, which sends the audience deep into Hell Week, as a favored pledgee is torn between honoring his code of silence or standing up against the intensifying violence of underground hazing.

Berman joined Mandalay in 2015 and is a co-founder of the Sundance Institute Catalyst Forum.

Crabtree is represented by Benderspink, UTA and Greg Slewett at Bloom Hergott. Frey and Soomer are repped by Verve, Madhouse Entertainment, and Myman Greenspan. Ilous is repped by WME and Principato Young.

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