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The Zac Efron survival thriller “Gold” has sold to Screen Media following a competitive bidding situation that saw several studios and distributors circling the project.

The film co-stars Anthony Hayes who co-wrote the script in addition to directing the picture. Susie Porter rounds out the cast.

“Gold” centers on two men who stumble across the biggest gold nugget ever found while traveling through a remote desert. They hatch a plan to protect and excavate the gold, a scheme that requires one man to leave to secure equipment while the other stays behind to protect the discovery… at all costs. “Gold” was filmed in South Australia late last year and is currently in post-production.

“It is always every filmmaker’s dream to make a film and snag a large North American release for their film and a bidding war is even more rare,” said Hayes. “It is a testament to our film ‘Gold’ and to everyone who worked so hard to bring it to life that Screen Media will shepherd this film into cinemas and beyond in North America. It proves the indie film landscape is alive and well and that distributors and audiences alike have a voracious appetite for films made outside the studio system.”

“Gold” was co-written by Hayes’ longtime partner Polly Smyth, and produced by John Schwarz, Michael Schwarz, and Hayes. Executive producers are Andrew Mann, Peter Touche, Simon Williams, Paul Wiegard, Will Clarke, Andy Mayson, Nick Forward and Mike Runagall.

Hayes’ acting credits include “Animal Kingdom” and “War Machine.” Efron starred in “High School Musical,” “Neighbors,” and “The Greatest Showman.” Porter is best known for her roles on “Welcome to Woop Woop,” “The Monkey’s Mask,” and “Cargo.”

Altitude Film Sales is handling foreign sales for the project. “Gold” will screen in Australia on the streaming service Stan as a “Stan Original Film” after a cinema release through Madman Entertainment.

“We cannot wait for audiences to discover ‘Gold’ when it arrives on the big screen next year,” said Screen Media in a statement. “Anthony and Polly have crafted a gritty and unforgettable parable for the pitfalls of the modern world and Zac is the perfect choice to bring this thrilling and relentless story to life.”

The deal was negotiated on behalf of Screen Media by Seth Needle, SVP of Global Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Screen Media, with Mike Runagall, Managing Partner at Altitude Film Sales, on behalf of the filmmakers.

Screen Media’s recent acquisitions include the Megan Fox thriller “Till Death,” and the mafia thriller “The Birthday Cake” starring Shiloh Fernandez, Ewan McGregor, and Val Kilmer. Its recent releases include “Senior Moment” starring William Shatner, Jean Smart and Christopher Lloyd, as well as “Willy’s Wonderland” with Nicolas Cage.