Anthony Hayes' 'Gold' starring Zac Efron.

Anthony Hayes’ Zac Efron-starrer Gold has been snapped up by Screen Media, who has taken all North American rights.

The survival thriller was subject to a bidding war following last year’s American Film Market (AFM), out of which the Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company came out on top.

The South Australian-shot film follows two men, travelling through remote desert, who stumble across the biggest gold nugget ever found. They hatch a plan to protect and excavate the gold, which sees one leave to secure equipment while the other stays behind to protect the discovery… at all costs.

Starring alongside Efron are Hayes and Susie Porter. Hayes directed from a script he co-wrote with Polly Smyth.

Producers include John Schwarz, Michael Schwarz and Hayes, with executive producers Andrew Mann, Peter Touche, Simon Williams, Paul Wiegard, Will Clarke, Andy Mayson, Nick Forward and Mike Runagall.

The DOP was Ross Giardina, editor Sean Lahiff, production designer Sam Hobbs, costume designer Anna Borghesi and make up and prosthetics Jennifer Lamphee.

The film is currently in post, and locally will release as a Stan Original after a theatrical run via Madman Entertainment. The film was developed and financed via the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), and Altitude Film Sales is handling all international sales.

“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.”

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.

“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.”

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