NEW YORK, NY (January 28, 2013) – While looking to expand its burgeoning slate from this year’s Sundance offerings, the 108 Media/Paladin partnership has just snared one of the most honored and acclaimed films from last year’s event, having acquired worldwide rights to Musa Syeed’s VALLEY OF SAINTS, it was announced by 108 Media CEO Abhi Rastogi and Paladin president Mark Urman. The film, which premiered in the World Cinema Competition at Sundance 2012, garnered both the Audience Award for Best Film as well as the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize, and has since gone on to play over 50 major domestic and international festivals to universal acclaim. Most recently it was nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography. 108 Media will begin selling foreign rights to VALLEY OF SAINTS in Berlin at next month’s European Film Market, with plans to take the film out in North America this summer.
Set on Dal Lake in Kashmir, one of the world’s most idyllic settings despite the area’s political unrest, VALLEY OF SAINTS tells the story of Gulzar, a young man who earns his living ferrying tourists around the lake but who himself has never left his remote village. When he makes plans to flee to the big city, a sudden curfew suspends all travel and he is trapped, literally as well as figuratively, at the lake. When a beautiful young scientist, Asifa, arrives to study the creeping effects of pollution on the local waters, she hires Gulzar to transport her. Seeing his world through the eyes of an outsider for the first time, his vision of himself, his community, and their respective prospects for the future, is forever transformed.
About the deal Urman says, “VALLEY OF SAINTS is an exquisite film that feels like the work of a master despite the fact that Musa is only his in his 20’s! I am exceedingly proud to assist at the birth of what I predict will be a spectacular career.” Rastogi adds, “I fell in love with this film at Sundance last year and now that we have our worldwide distribution operation up and running, we are finally able to give it the home that it deserves. What Mark will do for the film in the U.S. will greatly enhance the film’s profile around the world.”
Producer Nicholas Bruckman adds, “we’re tremendously excited to be partnering with 108 Media and Paladin on the theatrical release of VALLEY OF SAINTS. Mark Urman and his team have truly embraced our film and know its audience. We’re thrilled VALLEY OF SAINTS will be joining the ranks of their prestigious upcoming releases.”
Since forming its partnership with Paladin last summer, 108 Media has acquired Michel Gondry’s Cannes/Toronto alumnus, THE WE AND THE I, which opens in New York on March 8, and the Salman Rushdie/Deepa Mehta collaboration, MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN, which premiered at Telluride and Toronto, and is set to open in late April.