In a nod to the increasing popularity and bankability of genre pics, Venezuelan horror movie “The Whistler,” by Gisberg Bermudez, is unspooling across multiple South American territories, starting in December.
Argentine distributor SBP and Peruvian exhibitor-distributor Star Films/Cine Star, two of the larger studio product buyers in the region, have joined North American distributors Uncork’d and Dark Star Pictures in acquiring theatrical rights to “The Whistler.”
Uncork’d and Dark Star picked up all North American rights during AFM and plan to release the supernatural thriller in the summer of 2019.
Spain’s prestige indie genre label, Tema Distribution, acquired all rights to the film on Nov. 22.
Based on South American folk lore, “The Whistler” refers to a phantasmagorical figure which terrorizes a village during the night, feeding on the entrails of its victims. In Gisberg’s retelling of this popular legend; a father races to unearth the origins of the Whistler’s curse and halt the gradual possession of his daughter by the supernatural being.
Distribution pacts were negotiated by “The Whistler’s” worldwide distributors, Alief, based out of the U.K. and Georgia. Alief directors Miguel Govea and Brett Walker pointed out that it was the company’s “first foray into world distribution.”
“We are thrilled that our hard work is paying off,” they said, adding: “What we love about distribution in contrast to straight sales is that even though it is a gamble, we no longer look for the highest bidder.”
“Instead we focus on the right partner that will give us a reasonable advance but will truly invest in P&A and align all windows with our input and support,” they continued.
“We have been careful in selecting who we work with in each territory and we feel we are finding partners who are trustworthy, recognize the potential we see in the property, and above all, have great track records and are fiscally responsible, “said Govea.
The Venezuelan-Mexican-U.S. co-production kicks off its South American rollout next month when Venezuela’s Cines Unidos releases the pic on 50 screens on Dec. 7.
“Undoubtedly, in the current market situation, it is fundamental to be able to find different proposals that break with the repetitiveness of current releases and demonstrate the most interesting and attractive of Latin American horror movies,” said Matias Condito, head of acquisitions, SBP Worldwide, which rolls out the film in Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay in February after its Dec. 13 release in Argentina.
“The Whistler” will have its international premiere on the opening night of the Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre (BARS) horror and fantasy film festival, where it competes in the festival’s Ibero-American section. BARS runs Nov. 29 – Dec. 9.
Star Films/Cine Star releases the film in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia by mid-January.
Horror film had its world premiere at the 14th Venezuelan Film Festival in Merida where it won the Special Press Award for best picture, best cast and best make-up/VFX.
Per Govea, Alief is in talks with buyers from the U.K./Ireland, Germany, Australia/New Zealand, Japan, Korea and a number of South Asian countries.