XYZ Films has acquired North American sales rights to “Indemnity,” an action thriller from South African director Travis Taute that’s set to world premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival.
Written and directed by Taute, “Indemnity” tells the story of an ex-firefighter in Cape Town who’s forced to fight for his life after being accused of murdering his wife. Starring Jarrid Geduld, Nicole Fortuin and Andre Jacobs, pic is produced by Benjamin Overmeyer and Bradley Joshua for Gambit Films, the South African production outfit behind the Netflix series “Blood and Water” and the Fantasia prize winner “Number 37.”
“‘Indemnity’ is, at its very core, a simple and poetic journey of one man’s attempt at redemption in the wake of a devastating trauma,” said Taute. “It was conceived as a vehicle to shine a spotlight on the importance of mental health and deliver sobering insight into the destructive nature of toxic masculinity.”
The film follows Theo Abrams, a former firefighter from Cape Town suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who wakes up one morning beside his wife’s dead body. With no memory of what transpired and all evidence pointing to him as the murderer, Abrams sets out to prove his innocence, uncovering proof along the way of a global conspiracy that not only threatens his life but could change the course of the nation forever.
“It was important for me to demonstrate, through Theo’s journey, the ability of the human spirit to endure and survive unimaginable tragedy,” said Taute. “To paint an intimate portrait of one man’s psychological struggle against the backdrop of a thrilling, investigative plot that sees him traverse across a contemporary Cape Town landscape in a relentless, pulse-pounding pursuit of the truth.”
The writer-director called his feature debut a “love letter” to some of his favorite genre films of the ‘90s and ‘00s, such as “The Fugitive” and “Enemy of the State,” which he described as “highly entertaining action vehicles that were driven by character and not spectacle, grounded in realism and embedded with topical social commentary that made them really resonate.”
“Inspired by these classics, our ambition as filmmakers at Gambit Films was really to change the perception on the kinds of genre films that can be produced in South Africa,” Taute continued, “and through ‘Indemnity,’ to demonstrate our ability to tell a highly entertaining and engaging genre story, with universally relatable themes that we hope audiences will come to really resonate with.”
XYZ Films previously repped “Number 37,” the buzzy feature debut of director Nosipho Dumisa, which premiered at SXSW before winning the best director award at Fantasia in 2018. The film was picked up by Dark Star Pictures for a North American theatrical release.
“XYZ Films is beyond thrilled to continue our collaboration with Gambit Films and present ‘Indemnity’ to the North American market,” said Pip Ngo, the company’s VP of sales and acquisitions. “Travis has directed an intelligent, adrenaline-fueled thriller that showcases the best of what South Africa has to offer in the action genre today.”
Gambit’s Joshua described “Indemnity” as “the biggest action film to come out of this region that has originated and been produced completely here,” adding: “We feel that with this film, we are moving the genre needle for films coming out of Africa and South Africa.”
The Fantasia Film Festival runs Aug. 5-25.