Paris-based Backup Media has acquired multi-territory rights to Joe Penna’s feature debut, “Arctic,” a survival thriller starring Mads Mikkelsen (“Hannibal”), which will make its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in the Midnight screenings section.
Written by Penna and Ryan Morrison, “Arctic” follows Mikkelsen as a man stranded in the Arctic who is finally about to receive his long-awaited rescue. However, after a tragic accident, his opportunity is lost, and he must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown for potential salvation.
Armory Films’ Chris Lemole and Tim Zajaros, the duo behind Dee Rees’ Oscar-nominated “Mudbound,” produced “Arctic” alongside Noah C. Haeussner of Union. Martha de Laurentiis, Manu Gargi and Einar Thorsteinsson exec produced the film. XYZ Films is representing the international rights, with CAA/UTA handling domestic.
Lemole and Zajaros said the film and Mikkelsen’s performance “drastically exceeded” their expectations.” “It is everything we’d hoped it would be and so much more,” the pair said.
Backup Media has picked rights to “Arctic” for France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The Jokers Films will release the film in France, while Koch Films will distribute it in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
“Arctic” marks the third collaboration between Backup, The Jokers and Koch, following Takashi Miike’s “Yakuza Apocalypse,” which premiered in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2015, and “Brimstone,” which premiered at Venice in 2016.
“‘Arctic’ is a distinctive and bold thriller we are very proud of bringing to Cannes, the typical film Backup is aiming at producing and/or distributing,” said Backup Media’s co-founder Joel Thibout.
He said Backup was “looking forward doing more of those early multi-territory pickups, relying on our distributor friends and partners’ taste and talent.”
Manuel Chiche, who founded The Jokers in 2014, said that Penna demonstrates with “Arctic” that “making videos on YouTube can be the starting point of a filmmaker career. Joe Penna is definitely a director to watch.”
Moritz Peters, the head of marketing and acquisitions at Koch Films, described “Arctic” as an “‘All Is Lost’ in the perpetual ice,” and said the film had a “great sense of pace and cinematic detail.”
Armory Films just wrapped production on “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” starring Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson.
XYZ Films recently won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize with Macon Blair’s “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” last year.
Aside from “Arctic,” Backup Media’s slate includes Eva Husson’s “Girls of the Sun,” which will world premiere in competition at Cannes, as well as Brian De Palma’s “Domino” and Tim Sutton’s “Donnybrook.” Both “Domino” and “Donnybrook” are currently in post.