After a strong reaction from critics at the world premiere in Toronto, psychological thriller The Hunter has been targeted and hunted down by a dozen international distributors.
The film, starring Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill and Frances O’Connor, has secured distribution deals – through worldwide sales agent Entertainment One – with such territories as the US (Magnolia Pictures), Canada (Entertainment One), the UK (Artificial Eye), Japan (BMS) and Germany (Ascot Elite).
Other deals inked were with Greece (Strada), Turkey (Umut Sanat) Bulgaria/Romania (New Films), Poland (Kino Swiat), Indonesia/Vietnam (PT Parkit), India (Pictureworks) and the Middle East (ECS Film Distribution). eOne says negotiations were continuing to secure distribution deals with Latin America, Benelux and Scandinavia.
The US' Magnolia Pictures was the first distributor to announce their acquisition of the Porchlight Films thriller, which was shot in Tasmania late last year. The distributor is planning on a 2012 release through its Ultra-VOD program, which allows cable subscribers to watch the film for about $US10 prior to the cinema release.
eOne international sales executive vice-president Charlotte Mickie said they weren’t surprised by the international response.
“The movie has so much to offer: it's gorgeously shot, a tautly wrought thriller, an exploration of our exploitation of the environment and a sensitive examination of the psychology of a loner who finds a family and a conscience," she said in a statement.
Paul Wiegard, of Madman Entertainment – which is distributing the film locally on more than 50 screens – said international buyers and critics were “mesmerised” by Tasmania’s beauty and the “outstanding” filmmaking.
Producer Vincent Sheehan told IF via email: “We couldn't have asked for a better reaction from the Toronto audience at the world premiere, and the sharp questions from the Q+A session after the screening was a great indicator of just how engaged they were in the world and mysteries of the story".
The Hunter, written by Alice Addison and based on the Julia Leigh novel of the same name, follows the long journey of Martin (Dafoe), a mercenary, who is sent from Europe by a mysterious biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness to search for the last remaining Tasmanian Tiger. It opens in Australia on October 6.
For a full feature on The Hunter, check out the October/November issue of IF Magazine – available soon. To watch the trailer, click here. To watch an interview with Wiegard, Addison and Leigh at Toronto, click here.