By Sydney Levine | Sydneys Buzz May 18, 2013 at 12:00PM
Mark Urman of Paladin, 108 Media's U.S. Distribution arm has acquired Sean Ellis’ Sundance Audience Award Winner Metro Manila for No. America. Urman and 108 CEO Abhi Rastog negotiated the deal with Abigail Walsh, Head of Sales at Independent, who are handling international sales on the film, and Jessica Lacy, on behalf of ICM partners, who represent Ellis.The North American deal on Metro Manila follows a number of other major sales, including France (Haut et Court), Spain (Festival Films), Scandinavia (NonStop), Japan (New Selects), Middle East (Front Row), Latin America (HBO), Hungary (Vertigo), Greece (Seven Group), Ex Yugoslavia (Cinemania), Singapore (indies Entertainment), and the Philippines (Captive).
Urman characterizes Metro Manila as "a smashing thriller--as smart and stylish as it is suspenseful—that I found impossible to shake-off. We look forward to working with Sean on its release and, even more so, to sharing it with audiences.” Rastogi adds, “this is undoubtedly one of the most exciting films to have emerged on the festival circuit this year, and we are confident that moviegoers and media alike will be blown away by it.”
Ellis produced, directed, photographed, and co-wrote the screenplay of Metro Manila, with Frank E. Flowers, based on his original story. Mathilde Charpentier also produced, and Ellis, Celine Lopez, and Enrique Y. Gonzalez served as executive producers.
Metro Manila centers around Oscar Ramirez, a poor rice farmer from the Northern Philippine mountains, who moves his family to the capital mega-city of Metro Manila in search of a better life. The sweltering capital’s bustling intensity soon overwhelms the Ramirezes, and they fall prey to the manipulations of hardened locals. Left penniless, Oscar gets a lucky break when he is offered steady work at an armored truck company and is taken under the wing of its friendly senior officer, Ong. Grateful for the job, Oscar doesn’t realize how dangerous it is; after all, Manila is a city where machine gun-wielding security guards are seen in every shop, from banks and jewelry stores to Starbucks, and where armed robbery has become a daily occurrence. Driving a cash-laden armored truck makes Oscar a moving target, but robbery isn’t the only danger he faces: when it becomes apparent that Ong was lying in wait for someone just like Oscar for some time, and that his motives for hiring him were far from altruistic, Oscar finds himself ensnared in a web of intrigue far more perilous than anything he faces on the mean streets of Manila
About 108 Media and Paladin:
108 Media is a Toronto-based international sales and distribution company that announced its partnership with Paladin at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. Together Rastogi and Urman have acquired such titles as Michel Gondry’s “The We And The I” and the Deepa Mehta/Salman Rushdie collaboration, “Midnight’s Children,” both currently in release. Also on-screen now are the award-winning British drama, “My Brother The Devil” and the Canadian comedy “And Now A Word From Our Sponsor,” starring Bruce Greenwood and Parker Posey, which was released last week both in select theaters and on cable VOD.