EXCLUSIVE: XYZ Films has picked up North American sales rights to the thriller from debut writer-director Jamie M Dagg.

The story centres on a traumatised American volunteer doctor on leave in Laos who flees into the interior after he intervenes to help the victim of a sexual assault and kills the assailant.

Casting is underway on River, which is scheduled to commence principal photography in Laos and Thailand in January. 

Nick Sorbara of Reach Me and Pontypool fame is producing via his RedLab Digital and Sanzhar Sultanov co-produces through his company Know Rules Media. Brillstein Entertainment’s Jai Khanna serves as executive producer.

The shoot will mark the first for a North American film in Laos and is scheduled for delivery in September. The producers are working with Laotian authorities to lobby for production incentives and the local producer partner is Mattie Do of Lao Art Media.

“XYZ takes great pride in our track record of identifying young talent and we believe writer-director Jamie Dagg is a perfect fit for us,” said head of international acquisitions Todd Brown.

“He’s a young, powerful voice telling an internationally-set tale with universal appeal and we couldn’t be happier to help bring him to audiences.”

Lauren Wilson of Dousette Wilson negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers with Brown for XYZ Films.