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Mel Gibson’s Andrew Garfield-starrer ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Sells Out for IM Global (EXCLUSIVE)

Expectation builds at Venice for Mel Gibson behind-the-camera return

Hacksaw Ridge
Courtesy of Lionsgate

IM Global has sold out worldwide on Andrew Garfield-starrer “Hacksaw Ridge,” which hits the Venice Lido on Sunday. It’s Mel Gibson’s first movie as a director in a decade, after 2006’s “Apocalypto.”

Lionsgate will release the film Nov. 4 in the U.S., nabbing a prime awards season date.

In final sales, IM Global has licensed “Hacksaw Ridge” to Lionsgate U.K. for the U.K. and Elevation Pictures for Canada.

Part U.S-set drama, part WWII battlefield epic of heroism under fire, “Hacksaw Ridge” is based on the true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who refused to kill the enemy or fire a weapon because of his religious beliefs. A volunteer in the army, he served as a medic. During the Battle of Okinawa Doss stayed behind when his battalion retreated, venturing repeatedly into the kill zone to haul 75 injured men to safety. Gibson has called Doss “one of the greatest war heroes of all time.”

“Hacksaw Ridge” is “about maintaining one’s values while trying to avoid conflict with other cultures and other values,” said IM Global founder-CEO Stuart Ford.

He added: It has “definitely a very powerful humanitarian message that hopefully will make it an important film as well as an entertaining one.”

IM Global already closed a slew of sales on “Hacksaw Ridge”at last year’s European Film Market, where it proved one of the most distinctive of high-profile titles. Some of the world’s biggest foreign distributors — Latin America’s Sun Distribution, Germany’s Universum, Spain’s DeAPlaneta — boarded by market close.

In later sales, YooZoo Pictures, part of online-mobile entertainment company Youzu Interactive, closed China rights; Gibson’s own company, Icon Films Distribution Australia, has rights to Australia, where “Hacksaw Ridge” shot.

“We are locked and loaded on a global release on the movie throughout the rest of this year and the early parts of next,” said Ford.

At Venice, IM Global will be introducing “The Journey,” from Nick Hamm (“The Hole,” The Very Thought of You”), to buyers. The out of competition film is the account of how two sworn enemies, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuiness, take a short journey together and begin to forge a building empathy which changes the course of modern Irish and British history. Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney star.

“It’s a really smart, moving, and very very prescient picture laced with wit, and quirkiness and very strong messages of forgiveness and reconciliation,” Ford said.

IM Global’s Venice presence comes just three months after it was acquired by Chinese media group Tang Media Partners.

“It’s been a summer of feverish corporate activity, building up the television business, expanding our feature business and expanding our presence in China,” Ford said, adding that IM Global is expecting to make a number of significant announcements between now and the end of the year.

One has already gone down. Late August, IM Global China announced Go Global, a new service company aiming to up the exposure of Chinese cinema worldwide. In an early move, Go Global is sponsoring the Venice Festival’s Bridging the Dragon, a China-Europe co-production meet.