Santa Monica-based Lightning Entertainment has disclosed the first wave of deals on John V Soto’s voodoo thriller Needle.

Lightning licensed German-speaking Europe to Telepool, which negotiated a pre-emptive acquisition ahead of the film’s market premiere screenings in Cannes.

Playarte acquired the film for Brazil and Eagle Films for Middle East. Lighting Entertainment is handling worldwide sales excluding Australia and New Zealand, where the filmmakers are in talks with distributors.

Michael Dorman, Trilby Glover, Travis Fimmel and John Jarratt star in the story of a student who teams up with his estranged brother to recover a deadly 18th century device that goes missing after he inherits it.

Soto wrote the screenplay with Anthony Egan and Deidre Kitcher and Kane Manera produced. The film shot entirely in Western Australia.

“There has been tremendous interest in Needle since we first showed the promo in Berlin,” Lightning co-president Richard Guardian said. “Buyer reaction to this initial footage made it clear that we had something special on our hands and we expect an even greater reaction to the finished version being screening in Cannes.”

“I’m delighted with the job Lightning is doing with my film, and proud that even before our first screening a major German distributor has stepped forward to take it off the table,” Soto said.

Lightning’s Cannes sales slate includes: Jonathan Hensleigh’s The Irishman starring Ray Stevenson, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer and Vincent D’Onofrio; survival thriller The Reef; romantic comedy Coach; and supernatural thriller Road Train.