×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cautionary Tale, ‘Motel Acacia’ Under Way After Four Years of Development

Production has begun on Malaysian director Bradley Liew’s upscale horror film “Motel Acacia.” With a clearly topical message, the film features a hotel bed that eats immigrants.

Actor, JC Santos called it: “A cautionary tale of what’s going to happen in the future.” Indonesian star, Nicholas Saputra said the he agreed to the role “because of its urgency and relevance.”

The movie has representation in North America through XYZ Films, the sales and production company of Todd Brown. He was also responsible for selecting the concepts to be presented at the International Film Festival and Awards Macao’s project market.

“Set in a fictional snowy United States, the film is about a young Filipino man who is groomed by his tyrannical Caucasian Father to take over Motel Acacia which is tasked with exterminating immigrants by the government through a bed, haunted with the spirit of a Filipino tree demon, that eats men and impregnates women,” said Liew. His first film, “Singing in Graveyards,” premiered in the Venice Film Festival’s Critics Week section in 2016, and travelled to over 30 festivals.

In addition to Santos and Saputra, the ensemble cast includes Agot Isidro from the Philippines, Belgian actor Jan Bijvoet (“Borgman,” “Peaky Blinders”), Malaysia’s Bront Palarae (“Satan’s Slaves”), Thailand’s Vithaya Pansringarm (“Only God Forgives”,) Talia Zucker (“Ned Kelly”) and Will Jaymes (“Beast”).

“Motel Acacia” has taken some four years to come to fruition and is now structured as a co-venture between companies from The Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, Slovenia, Croatia, and Malaysia.

The development phase involved presentation at Berlinale Co-Production Market and BiFan’s NAFF IT Project. It was also developed at the Jerusalem Film Lab, Eave’s Ties That Bind and Talents Tokyo.

“It started at BiFan’s project market, but the material was very raw and we only had our first draft of the script then- which was quite bad,” said noted Philippines producer and the film’s co-writer, Bianca Balbuena. “Then the year after, we got into Eave Ties That Bind and Talents Tokyo with a better draft. We also got the development fund support from Talents Tokyo. The year after, we got invited to participate at the very selective Jerusalem Film Lab (Sam Spiegel International Film Lab) and it was a year of script development that ended with a public pitch during the Jerusalem Film Festival.

“By this time, we already had Taiwan’s Mandarin Vision and Singapore’s Potocol and Tier Pictures on board. Then a year after, we got into the biggest event of the project, the Berlinale Co-Production Market where we met our Croatian and Slovenian partners. Months later, our biggest partner and Philippine distributor, Black Sheep of ABS-CBN Films, and co-producer, Globe Studios, boarded the project.

Balbuena’s company, Epicmedia, is the lead producer handling development, production, sales & distribution decisions. The deal for North American representation through XYZ Films was announced last month.

More Film

  • WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make

    WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make Deals if Agents are Fired

    The Writers Guild of America has authorized managers and lawyers to negotiate deals for writers in place of agents — if the guild tells members to fire their agents on April 7. The guild’s negotiating committee notified members of the plans in a message Wednesday. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents having made [...]

  • Gone With the Wind Screening

    Film News Roundup: 'Gone With the Wind' Sets Event Cinema Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Gone with the Wind” sets a new record, “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” is acquired, and Tracy Oliver signs with Topic Studios. EVENT CINEMA RECORD The 80th anniversary release of “Gone with the Wind” has grossed $2.23 million in six nationwide screenings on four dates — a record as the [...]

  • Made in Abyss - Journey’s Dawn

    Film Review: ‘Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn’

    It’s a Herculean effort to take a multi-volume manga like author Akihito Tsukushi’s “Made in Abyss,” adapt it into a popular anime television series, and then compress the show into a coherent feature (technically, two movies), but the folks at Sentai Filmworks have done just that. Part one, “Made in Abyss: Journey’s Dawn,” will screen [...]

  • HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market

    HAF: 'Assassination,' 'Apprenticeship' Named Project Market Winners

    Eighteen prizes were presented on Wednesday afternoon at the closing ceremony of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. The project market sits alongside FilMart as part of the Entertainment Expo in Hong Kong. “Wong Tai Sin Assassination” to be directed by Wong Hoi and produced by Derek Kwok Tsz-kin, was named the winner of [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Makes Concession on Film Financing in Agent Talks

    The Writers Guild of America has made a concession in film financing in its negotiations with Hollywood talent agents — the second in six weeks of talks. WGA West executive director David Young said Wednesday that it had made a “significant move” toward reaching a deal with the Association of Talent Agents for a revamped [...]

  • Noah Centineo He-Man

    Noah Centineo to Play He-Man in 'Masters of the Universe' Reboot

    From a boy (who’s loved) to He-Man. Noah Centineo is in talks to take on the superhero in Sony Pictures and Mattel Films’ “Masters of the Universe.” Brothers Adam and Aaron Nee are directing the reboot. Mattel Films is partnering with Sony on the movie, which is based on Mattel’s beloved toy line that spawned [...]

  • Disney Fox Takeover Placeholder

    Disney, Fox Employees Grapple With Day One Transition on Two Hollywood Lots

    What kind of a boss will Disney be? That’s a question facing employees at 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, National Geographic Partners, FX Networks, and other assorted parts of Rupert Murdoch’s former media empire. Wednesday was their first full day as staffers of the Walt Disney Co. and the initial moves have done little to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content