Distrib deal for Canuck murder pic

'Karla' gets picked up by Christal

Canadian distributor Christal Films has picked up local rights to murder pic “Karla” and is rushing it on to 100 screens Jan. 20.

“Karla” is based on the grisly true story of Ontario husband-and-wife murderers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka and stars Misha Collins (“24”) and Laura Prepon (“That ’70s Show”).

Produced by Michael Sellers for Quantum Entertainment and helmed by Joel Bender, pic has generated enormous controversy in Canada because of the horrific nature of the crimes.

The pair raped, tortured and killed two schoolgirls and Homolka’s younger sister Tammy in the early 1990s.

The scandal reignited last year when Homolka was released from a Quebec jail after serving only 12 years. Bernardo is still in prison.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty last year called for a boycott of the film and Jeff Sackman, CEO of Toronto-based distributor ThinkFilm, wrote to every Canadian distrib last year urging them not to buy the film.

“We feel grateful that there’s a quality distributor there willing to step up to the plate and give the film a chance,” Sellers said.

It has yet to receive a rating from the different provincial ratings boards in Canada.

Pic has not been sold in the U.S. and Sellers said Quantum could release it in a limited number of U.S. markets if it fails to land a distrib deal.

Lawyer Tim Danson, who represents the victims’ families, had contemplated legal action under Canada’s child pornography laws to stop release of the film. But after a private screening last September, Danson said the families would not oppose pic’s release.

It was originally slated to world preem at the Montreal World Film Festival last August, but fest prexy Serge Losique withdrew it due to the pressure from some of the event’s sponsors.

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