Los Cabos

XYZ Films continues to explore Los Cabos International Film Festival as an alternative launch pad for sales and has reported a strong turnout for a private buyers screening of post-apocalyptic thriller Riot Girls.

One year after the LA-based company introduced a successful private screening of horror title Haunting On Fraternity Row, it returns with Riot Girls. Jovanka Vuckovic’s film is not part of the festival, yet XYZ Films partner Nate Bolotin believes the timing and profile of the Mexican event can better serve select filmmakers, away from the crowded circuit of more established global markets.

Buyers from NEON, Vertical Entertainment, and IFC Films were among those who attended Thursday’s (8) private screening. London-based AMP International handles international sales.

“We are constantly looking for new platforms to launch independent films for sales,” said Bolotin. “Cabo is an excellent new option that enables us to shine a spotlight away from the crowded AFM marketplace and before the Q1 festival run.”

Last year in Los Cabos, Bolotin and CAA screened Brant Sersen’s Party Crasher to US buyers. The fraternity house horror, produced by Benaroya Pictures, and with former New Line Cinema co-chairs Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne on board as executive producers, sparked two offers immediately after the screening in November 2017. It sold to Vertical Entertainment, who just released it in the US under its new title, Haunting On Fraternity Row

Vuckovic directed Riot Girls from a screenplay by Katherine Collins. The action is set in an alternate 1995 as two gangs engage in a brutal fight for survival after a mysterious disease has wiped out all adults. Madison Iseman and Paloma Kwiatkowski lead the cast.

Lauren Grant of Clique Pictures are producing Riot Girls, and executive producers are Brian Kavanaugh-Jones of Automatik, Chris Ferguson of Oddfellows Entertainment, Phil Hunt and Compton Ross of Head Gear Films, John Bain of Search Engine Films, Mark Gringas and John Laing of Urban Post Production, Michael Roban, Vuckovic and Collins. Sandra Yee Ling is co-executive producer.

Finance support comes from Telefilm Canada, Head Gear Films, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, Ontario Media Development Corporation, Search Engine Films, Urban Post Production, Clique Pictures, She Wolf Films, and the Harold Greenberg Fund.

Vuckovic, a director on the first all-female horror anthology XX that premiered at Sundance 2017, said: “Riot Girls is not the kind of film women usually get to make, with characters that women don’t usually get to play, so I was naturally attracted to it. It’s also reminiscent of my favourite high concept cult films, and being an outsider myself, I can’t help but love a good misfit’s journey. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be at the helm of this genre-bending, punk rock, post-apocalypse film.”