Paramount acquires large international rights to Berlin competition entry “BlackBerry” (exclusive)

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In a major swoop on a competition title by a US studio Paramount Global Content Distribution has acquired all international rights outside select territories to Matt Johnson’s BlackBerry.

Co-financier XYZ Films brokered the deal heading into Friday’s world premiere and has additionally struck a raft of individual territory sales on the story about the rise and catastrophic fall of the BlackBerry smartphone.

IFC Films will release in the US this year and Elevation Pictures will distribute in Canada. Additional rights have gone to Falcon Films for the Middle East, NonStop Entertainment for Scandinavia, and Skeye for airlines.

BlackBerry‘s ensemble cast features Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Cary Elwes, Saul Rubinek, Rich Sommer, Martin Donovan, Michael Ironside, and Johnson. The screenplay was adapted by the latter from “Losing The Signal” by Jacquie Mcish and Sean Silcoff.

Niv Fichman produced with Miller and Fraser Ash. BlackBerry is a Rhombus Media and Zapruder Films production, with the participation of Telefilm Canada and Ontario Creates, in association with CBC Films, IPR.VC and XYZ Films, who are among the executive producers.

XYZ Films partner Nate Bolotin and Pip Ngo brokered the international deal on behalf of the filmmakers with Dan Cohen for Paramount Global Content Distribution.

BlackBerry marks Johnson’s first Berlin competition entry. The Canadian has attended the festival as an actor in Kazik Radwanski’s 2016 Forum selection How Heavy This Hammer, and directed 2016 Sundance entry Operation Avalanche, 2013 Slamdance selection The Dirties, and 2016 TV series Nirvanna The Band The Show.

XYZ Films and Rhombus Media will reunite on Seven Veils starring Amanda Seyfried and directed by Atom Egoyan, which is currently in production.

  • Berlin 2023: Screen’s guide to the Competition titles

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