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London-based Matchbox Films has snapped up U.K. rights to Venezuelan supernatural thriller “The Whistler” from London and Tbilisi-based film production-distribution company, Alief.

Closed at the EFM, deal comes in the wake of the drama’s Best Ibero-American Feature Award at the Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre Fantastic Film Festival in December and best cinematography, original score and screenplay awards from the Caracas Cinematography Critics Circle in January.

In director Gisberg Bermudez’s retelling of a popular Venezuelan-Colombian myth, a father seeks to unearth the origin of the Whistler’s curse in order to halt the gradual possession of his daughter by the avenging entity.

Alief has already closed deals for “The Whistler” with SBP Worldwide for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay; Star Films for Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia; Uncork’d with Dark Star for the U.S. and Canada, and Tema Distribuciones for Spain.

The film had its Latin American theatrical roll out on Dec. 13 after its Buenos Aires win. “The Whistler” will hit selected North American theaters and European territories in the summer.

Matchbox Films president Murray Dibbs negotiated the deal with Miguel Govea and Brett Walker of Alief.

“We are very happy to continue our relationship with Matchbox Films, they are the perfect U.K. home for our film,” said Govea who noted that Matchbox had previously acquired “Our Evil,” executive produced by Alief, in the past.

Alief is planning to co-produce a sequel to “The Whistler” with the same producers of the original, La Rue Films (U.S.) and Luciernaga Media (VE). Principal photography is slated for the summer with the same creative team: director Bermudez and co-writer sibling Gisyerg Bermudez.

A rising international player on the Eastern European film scene, Alief is gearing up to co-produce psychological drama “Zana” by Antoneta Kastrati, with Crossing Bridges Films (Kosovo) and On Film (Albania).

Their first Georgian co-production, “Negative Numbers” by Uta Beria, winner of the 2018 MatchMaking Forum at Pula Film Festival work in progress award, is finalizing post in Paris in collaboration with partners Wide Management, Magnet Films and 39Films. Wide is representing the film at Berlin’s European Film Market

Alief and “Happy as Lazzaro” co-producer Amka Films also inked a co-production agreement on “I Am With You,” the semi-autobiographical directorial feature debut of Georgian visual artist Melano Sokhadze. “I Am With You” is a coming-of-age drama set in ‘90s Georgia with 2018 European Film Promotion Shooting Star awardee Irakli Kvirikadze attached to star. The L.A.-based Georgian actor will next be seen opposite Anthony Hopkins in “Now Is Everything.” Principal photography is targeted for Winter 2019/20.

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