Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights to Ashes in the Snow, the narrative directorial debut of Marius Markevicius that stars Bel Powley. The coming-of-age drama set in 1941 during Stalin’s brutal dismantling of the Baltic region just had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Vertical is eyeing an early 2019 theatrical release. Powley plays Lina, a young Lithuanian artist arrested by the Soviet secret police and deported with her mother and younger brother to labor camps in Siberia. She finds solace in her art and risks everything to document and draw what she sees in hopes her drawings will shed light upon Stalin’s terror. Martin Wallström, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Jonah Hauer-King, Sophie Cookson, James Cosmo and Sam Hazeldine also star. Ben York Jones penned the script, adapted from Ruta Sepetya’s novel, and Sorrento Productions, Tauras Films and Twilight Merengue Studios produced. The deal was negotiated by Vertical’s Rich Goldberg, Peter Jarowey and Josh Spector with CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers.
Cinedigm has acquired North American rights to Dead Ant, a horror comedy starring Tom Arnold. Sean Astin, Jake Busey Leisha Hailey and and Rhys Coiro. A January day-and-date theatrical-digital release is planned. Directed by Ron Carlson, the film follows ’80s one-hit-wonder glam-metal band Sonic Grave (the band — Astin, Busey, Hailey, and Coiro — even performed a song penned by Carlson at Screamfest in Los Angeles last year) as they embark on a road trip to Coachella in hopes of a comeback. When their peyote trip pit stop in Joshua Tree incites a grisly attack, they must “rock” themselves out of harm’s way. Sydney Sweeney, Cameron Richardson, Michael Horse and Danny Woodburn co-star. The deal was negotiated by Cinedigm’s Josh Thomashow and Archstone Distribution’s Brady Bowen on behalf of producer August Heart Entertainment.