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Universal UK picks up 'Spud' for International Distribution


Spud
takes on the world! After a successful release in South Africa in December 2010 which saw it top the summer box office ahead of international blockbusters like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the film adaptation of one of South Africa’s best-loved books has made massive international strides with distribution deals in place to release it in the UK, Ireland, the Middle East, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia.

The deal to distribute the film in the UK was announced at the Toronto Film Festival this past weekend by the film’s international sales agent, The Little Film Company, and will see Universal UK handling theatrical, home entertainment and television rights, with the cinema release set for early 2012. Universal UK is the British & Irish arm of Hollywood studio NBC Universal.


Spud producer Ross Garland is delighted that such a powerhouse player has picked up the film. “It’s a bit of a coup for a major distributor like Universal UK to pick up a South African film – and we’re delighted that they’re so passionate about it,” he says. “2012 is shaping up to be a big Spud year - in addition to our first foray into the international market, the fourth book in the series is being published and we’re working on plans to shoot the sequel film”.

Universal UK Acquisition Head Richard Thompson believes that UK audiences will enjoy Spud’s coming-of-age story: “The book franchise has an incredible following in South Africa.  The film topped the South African box office - beating Harry Potter – and we know UK audiences will fall in love with these characters and this story.”

 



In addition to its sales success, Spud will be part of the prestigious Cinekid Festival in Holland in mid-October. Cinekid is the largest international children’s film festival. The film will also play at Germany’s Schlingel International Film Festival for children and youths, and has already screened at the Giffoni Film Festival in Italy in July.

Based on the best-selling South African novel by John van de Ruit, Spud is directed by Donovan Marsh and stars BAFTA-winner, Emmy winner and Academy Award nominee John Cleese and newcomer Troye Sivan (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and was produced by Ross Garland of Rogue Star Films and Brad Logan of BLM Productions. The film will be distributed in the Middle East by Front Row, in Australia by Pinnacle and by Another World in Scandinavia. Airline rights have been acquired by Terry Steiner.