The black comedy recently opened the Slamdance Film Festival. Pump Up The Volume and Empire Records veteran Allan Moyle directed. Nicholas Tabarrok of Darius Films produced and Morris Ruskin of Shoreline executive produced.
Weirdsville follows two slackers who assume their friend has had an overdose and try to bury her body; she wakes up during a cult ritual and the trio ends up on the run from an angry gang. Scott Speedman, Wes Bentley and Taryn Manning star.
Contender has historically concentrated on Asian cinema (Seven Swords, Ong-Bak, The Grudge 2) and DVD releases, but new feature arm Contender Films will venture into non-Asian products, including another recent acquisition, Suburban Mayhem. The company has also hired a new film manager to spearhead theatrical releases, Tristan Woods-Scawen, who previously worked at Feref.
Matt Brightwell, head of marketing of Contender Films, said: 'Weirdsville is a prime example of the of type product that we are looking to acquire for the UK market - high quality independent product with real mainstream crossover potential.'
Contender plans to release later in 2007. Magnolia has already taken US rights.
Canada's Darius Films produced Weirdsville with backing from Telefilm Canada, the Harold Greenberg Fund, the Ontario Media Development Corp, The Movie Network and Movie Central.
In addition to the new theatrical arm, Contender Entertainment Group has also launched Contender Merchandising for licensing and merchandising (working with Rubber Duck properties as well as third-party brands).
Contender has also formed Contender Distribution, led by Muriel Thomas, which will build on international distribution for in-house properties including Peppa Pig and Tractor Tom. Also, Contender Creative, led by Joan Lofts, will work alongside Rubber Duck Entertainment but will concentrate on non-pre-school properties.