×

‘Skyjacker’s Tale’ Documentary Acquired by Strand

Strand Releasing has acquired all U.S. rights to Jamie Kastner’s documentary “The Skyjacker’s Tale” from C7 Intl. and plans a late spring release, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, centers on skyjacker Ishmael Muslim Ali. He’d been convicted of murdering eight people in 1972 in the U.S. Virgin Islands, attempted to get his conviction overturned, and commandeered an American Airlines plane full of passengers to Cuba on New Year’s Eve 1984.

Ali, who remains a fugitive from the U.S., has continued living in Cuba. The film includes his first interview since the hijacking and features never-before-seen footage.

“We’re thrilled to have found the right U.S. home for this important, little-known American story,” says C7 International’s Baron Kastner. “We were fortunate to have had multiple offers out of TIFF, no mean feat for a doc these days, but Strand’s passion for the project and their highly curated, eclectic brand felt like the perfect fit.”

Ali continues to deny a role in the 1972 massacre, which took place at a time of racial tension in the Virgin Islands.

“Given the film’s contemporary resonance – Cuba, Black Lives Matter… – it’s very exciting to have Strand showing it to Americans,” Kastner said. “And for a controversial anti-hero like the Skyjacker to be getting a voice in Trump’s America, should be very interesting, to say the least.”

The film was financed entirely in Canada, which facilitated the Cuban shoot, with support from Telefilm Canada, the Rogers Group of Funds, the Canadian Media Fund, Ontario Media Development Corporation, Bell Media, Super Channel, and the Corus-Hot Docs Fund.

Kastner’s previous feature documentaries include “Secret Disco Revolution,” “Recessionize!,” and “Kike Like Me.” The deal was done between Strand Releasing’s Jon Gerrans and Laura Baron Kastner on behalf of C7 Intl.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Suro

    Lastor, ‘The Endless Trench’s’ Irusoin, Malmo Team for Mikel Gurrea’s ‘Suro’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Barcelona-based Lastor Media and Malmo Pictures have teamed with San Sebastian’s Irusoin to produce “Suro” (The Cork), the feature debut of Mikel Gurrea and a product of San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak program. The film stars Laia Costa, who broke through with Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria” and also serves as executive producer, and Pol López [...]

  • Ane

    Madrid’s ECAM Incubator Develops Terrorism Drama 'Ane'

    SAN SEBASTIAN — For the second year in a row, the ECAM Madrid Film School has paired a number of up-and-coming filmmakers with various industry veterans for an Incubator program part of the school broader development arm called The Screen. For its initial edition in 2018, this Incubator selected five feature projects, putting the selected [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider'

    Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider' Gets a Concert/Screening Premiere at Radio City

    In a year full of major 50th anniversary commemorations — from Woodstock to the moon landing — why not one for “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper’s hippie-biker flick that was released on July 14, 1969? That was the idea when a rep for Peter Fonda, who starred in the film as the laid-back Captain America, reached out [...]

  • Costa Gavras

    Costa-Gavras and Cast on Nationality, Identity, and Cinema

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Though he’s been based in Paris since 1955 and came up through the French film industry, director Costa-Gavras has never forgotten his roots. “Those who are born Greek,” said the Peloponnese-born filmmaker at a Saturday press conference,  “stay Greek all their lives.” The once-and-always Greek was not just in San Sebastian to [...]

  • Lorene Scafaria, Jennifer Lopez. Lorene Scafaria,

    'Hustlers' Director Lorene Scafaria: 'We Wanted to Treat It Like a Sports Movie'

    The star-studded cast of “Hustlers” didn’t just become strippers in the empowering female-helmed blockbuster — they also became athletes. When speaking to “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month, “Hustlers” director Lorene Scafaria explained the extreme athleticism required of the movie’s leading actresses, who all had [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content