Streaming media company Cinedigm has landed all North American rights to hit Latin horror movie “History of the Occult” from Buenos Aires-based FilmSharks. After a successful run across Latin America, Europe and Asia, it will debut in the U.S. and Canada in December via Cinedigm’s horror streaming service Screambox, powered by Bloody Disgusting.
“History of the Occult” was touted as the highest-rated horror movie of 2021 on Letterboxd’s Year in Review roundup, as voted by users of the film rating social platform.
Shot mostly in black and white, the feature debut of Argentine writer-director Cristian Ponce is set in the 1980s during the last broadcast of the leading news show on TV, “60 Minutes Before Midnight.” A band of journos are racing against the clock to persuade their main guest, Adrian Marcato, to expose a conspiracy that ties their corrupt government to an actual coven.
“Mystery, conspiracy and the supernatural intrigues and excites something in all of us,” said Brad Miska, managing director of Bloody Disgusting who added: “Cristian [Ponce] melds these themes together in such a brilliant way, making ‘History of the Occult’ the kind of film viewers can’t look away from.”
Said Guido Rud, CEO of FilmSharks: “’History of the Occult’ is not the kind of film you come across every day. The old rule is now more valid than ever: it’s all about the script, and no matter the size of the film, it can immerse you in less than 10 minutes if a great story is told.”
“When we discovered this gem and it became Spain’s #1 most-watched digital film of the year during 2021, we were able to sell this genre-defining film to major studios around the world in 45 territories,” Gud remarked. “We are elated to strike this deal with one of the best genre labels in North America because of their dedication to the horror genre and its fans,” he added.
Netflix nabbed streaming rights to “History…” for Spain and Latin America last year, while WarnerMedia’s HBO Max scooped up all Central European streaming rights. In addition, Eurozoom took all French rights for a theatrical release in the first quarter of this 2022. FilmSharks picked up worldwide and remake rights to the genre pic in May last year. A major U.S. genre producer is eyeing it for a remake, which FilmSharks subsidiary, The Remake Company, handles.
Ponce, whose animated series “The Kirlian Frequency” also plays on Netflix, has snagged several awards, among them the Le Film Français prize at Cannes’ Blood Window sidebar; the Black Tulip best film honor at Amsterdam’s Imagine Festival; and the best director and audience prizes at the Terror Molins Festival’s Videodrome sidebar.
Regional prizes include the best debut feature and best actor awards from Argentina’s category “A” Mar del Plata Film Festival and best film and script recognitions from Uruguay’s horror and fantasy film festival, Nox.
The Lovecraftian horror film also screened at Spain’s premier fantastic film festival, Sitges.
Marcato is played by seasoned Argentine film, theatre and commercials actor German Baudino whose credits include “Abrakadabra,” 2017’s “Los Olvidados” and “Dia de los Muertos.” He leads a cast that includes Nadia Lozano, Victor Díaz, Héctor Ostrofsky and Agustín Recondo.
Pedro Saieg produced the Tangram Cine production
The deal was brokered by Cinedigm acquisitions manager Brandon Hill on behalf of Cinedigm and FilmSharks’ Matias Fontenla, Valeria Fanego and Rud.
FilmSharks has a slew of elevated genre films in its catalog, including “Macabre,” “Play with Me,” “Ferocious Wolf,” “Legions,” “The Shadow of the Rooster,” “Immortal” and “Virtual Reality.”
XYZ Films recently acquired North American rights to Fabian Forte’s “Legions,” from FilmSharks. The Argentine horror pic premiered at Montreal’s Fantasia Fest and also won best script at Fantaspoa. XYZ Films is eyeing a late 2022 domestic release.