EXCLUSIVE: Holy Spider, the Ali Abbasi-directed Iranian serial killer thriller, is nearing a deal for U.S. rights with Utopia, the U.S. sales and distribution firm owned by Robert Schwartzman and Cole Harper. The provocative Cannes Competition film premiered today on the Croisette to strong applause and positive notices.
CAA Media Finance is brokering the domestic deal while Wild Bunch is handling sales on the film about a serial killer who is killing sex workers in the holy city of Mashhad, a pilgrimage destination (and the second largest city in Iran). Based on a true story, the film centers on a female journalist from Tehran who is trying to track the killer down – and who faces a lot of opposition from the authorities, as many secretly support the “spider killer” for removing a scandalous element.
Pic is written by Abbasi and Afshin Kamran Bahrami, and stars Zar Amir Ebrahimi and Mehdi Bajestani. Producers are Sol Bondy (The Tale) and Jacob Jarek (Speak No Evil).
Iranian-Danish director Abbasi won the Un Certain Regard competition several years ago for his Swedish troll movie Border.
The acquisition marks the biggest deal to date for the upstart Utopia, formed in 2019 with a “filmmaker first” approach. Previous releases include Sharp Stick, American Dharma and Mickey And The Bear.