Toronto-based sales and distribution outfit 108 Media has picked up international rights to Kazakh epic Myn Bala: Warriors Of The Steppe and will commence sales in Cannes.

Directed by Akan Satayev, the $10m historical action adventure was released in its native Kazakhstan on May 3, and grossed $1m on its opening weekend, breaking the previous record set by Satayev’s Racketeer in 2007.

Inspired by historical facts, the film focuses on a group of teenage rebels who fight against the ferocious Mongols occupying their country in the 1720s.

The crew includes Central Asia’s leading DoP Khassan Kydyraliyev (The Light Thief), script doctor Claire Downs, editors Nicolas Trembasiewicz (Transporter) and Christopher Bell (The Bourne Ultimatum) and action consultant Teddy Chen (Bodyguards And Assassins). 

The deal with 108 Media was negotiated by the company’s president Nathaniel Warsh, CEO Abhi Rastogi, and producer Aliya Uvalzhanova, whose New Film Format produced the film with Kazakhfilm Studio president Yermek Amanshayev. The film screens in the Cannes market on May 17.

“This is such an ambitious epic with flawless production values, we’re proud to bring the picture to the international marketplace,” said Warsh.

One of Kazakhstan’s hottest young directors, Satayev’s credits also include metaphysical thriller Strayed, which was Kazakhstan’s submission for the Academy Awards in 2010. His gangster drama Racketeer grossed $1m from 57 prints in 2007.

108 Media’s Cannes slate also includes And Now A Word From Our Sponsor, starring Bruce Greenwood and Parker Posey. The company, which is also a buyer, acquired English-language rights to Korean animated hit Leafie, A Hen Into The Wild at Berlin this year.