108 Media, Paladin nab U.S. rights to ‘Children’

Dup set April release for Mehta pic

108 Media and Paladin have acquired U.S. rights to Deepa Mehta’s “Midnight’s Children” and are planning an April release.

The pic, adapted by Salman Rushdie from his own novel follows the destinies of a pair of children born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947 — the moment that India claimed its independence from Great Britain — who are switched at birth in a Bombay hospital, leading to the son of a poor single mother and the scion of a wealthy family being condemned to live out the fate intended for the other.

“Midnight’s Children,” filmed in secrecy in Sri Lanka, screened at the Telluride FilmFestival and the Toronto International Film Festival.

Paladin topper Mark Urman told Variety that the April release was selected in order to coincide with the availabilties of Mehta and Rushdie.

David Hamilton produced through Hamilton-Mehta Midnight Prods. and Number 9 Films. FilmNation is handling sales.

Variety’s Peter Debruge gave the pic a mixed review: “At 149 minutes, Deepa Mehta’s sprawling, hyper-saturated adaptation of the epic Salman Rushdie classic “Midnight’s Children” feels like too much to take in all at once. Suspended somewhere between fable and history without even so much as a toe on the ground, the rich-cat/poor-cat tale of two Indian boys switched at birth begins long before conception and continues well after they meet, boiling over with passion every step of the way.”It’s the second TIFF acquisition for the 108/Paladin partnership, which also acquired North American rights to Michel Gondry’s “The We and I,” four months after it was the opening night presentation at the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes. 108 Media announced on Aug. 24 that it had formed a partnership with Paladin to jointly distribute films in North America.

Urman and 108 Media CEO Abhi Rastogi negotiated the deal with FilmNation, which represented the producers.

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