BUENOS AIRES — 1844 Entertainment, an emerging player on the U.S. distribution scene, has acquired North American rights to Argentine writer-director Alejandro Fadel’s “Muere monstruo muere” (“Murder Me, Monster”), sold by The Match Factory.
The deal was negotiated by 1844 Entertainment’s Tommaso Cerqueglini, The Match Factory’s Michael Weber and Thania Dimitrakopoulou.
As on two other high-profile Latin America 1844 pick-ups, Benjamin Naishtat’s “Rojo” and Paraguay’s Oscar submission “The Heiresses,” the theatrical, non-theatrical and home entertainment releases will be handled by Distrib Films US, headed by François Scippa-Kohn.
The North America deal follows sales to Japan (The Klockworx) and Hong Kong (Edko). UFO will distribute in France, CDI in Chile. An Argentine theatrical distribution deal will be closed imminently,“Murder Me, Monster” producer Agustina Llambi Campbell said at Ventana Sur.
Set in a remote part of Mendoza, backed by stark bleak Andean mountains, “Murder Me, Monster” begins with rural police officer Cruz investigating the case of a headless woman’s body. The prime suspect is David, the husband of Cruz’s lover Francisca. Sent to a local mental hospital, David blames the crime on “the Monster.” Cruz stumbles on a mysterious theory involving geometric landscapes, mountain motorcyclists and a mantra which he can’t get out of his head: “Murder me, Monster.” His belief in a monster seems justified when one manifests itself in the story – this is after all a supernatural film, Fadel said at Ventana Sur.
But the film’s real monstrosity, he went on, is its “forms of power and control, which are evidently masculine – medicine, the police, religion – installed to control fear, so that people can remain productive, part of a system… The Monster is a representation of a lot of things, but it’s [purpose is] to create emotions, questions,” he observed.
Just what the monster symbolizes is left to spectators to decide, given their own fears, Fadel added.
A horror movie knit with an art film sensibility, “Murder Me, Monster” has been selected for both big festivals such as Cannes, or a rather different event such as the Viennale, and specialist genre events, such as the Austin Fantastic Film Festival and Catalonia’s Sitges Fantastic Film Festival, where it won the Blood Window prize for best Latin American fantastic genre film.
“Murder Me, Monster” is lead produced by La Union de los Ríos, run by Llambi Campbell, whose credits include Santiago Mitre’s “The Student,” “Paulina” and “The Summit,” and Fadel’s debut, “The Wild Ones,” which won the Cannes Critics’ Week prize for distribution from France’s Association for the Diffusion of Independent Cinema (ACID). Also producing are France’s Rouge Intl., headed by Julie Gayet and Nadia Turincev, and Production’s Jean Raymond García and Benjamin Delaux and Chile’s Cinestación, run by Dominga Sotomayor and Omar Zuñiga.
“1844 Entertainment is not focusing as a strategic decision on Latin American films but Latin American cinema is going through a great period at the moment, producing a lot of pearls. This is one of them. It’s not a classic slasher, but brings more to the table,” said Tommaso Cerqueglini.
“The true monster is not the most obvious one in this mysterious and hypnotizing feature and we really think the director has much more to tell and show in the future,” said Scippa-Kohn.
“He added that it would be released theatrically in the U.S. first semester of 2019. Our guess is that the movie must be brought to the audience, or special screenings, midnight events, Latino weeks. We’ll accompany it with on-spot marketing to highlight the atmosphere, the haunting images, and the promise of a real and terrifying monster.”
“I’m absolutely proud to have produced this film, and to continue the partnership with Alejandro, which we began with ‘The Wild Ones,’ and which I very much hope we will now take into the future,” added Llambi Campbell.