AFM: Screen Media Takes Emma Watson Thriller 'Colonia' for U.S. (Exclusive)

Colonia Emma Watson Daniel Bruhl
Vaz Palma

Daniel Bruhl and Michael Nyqvist co-star in the drama, set in Chile during General Pinochet’s military coup of 1973.

Screen Media Films has picked up U.S. rights to Colonia, a South American-set thriller featuring Harry Potter star Emma Watson and German actor Daniel Bruhl (Rush, Captain America: Civil War).

Seth Needle, director of worldwide acquisitions, at Screen Media negotiated the deal with UTA Independent Film Group and Dirk Schurhoff of world sales outfit Beta Cinema on behalf of the filmmakers.

Directed by Florian Gallenberger (John Rabe), Colonia is set in Chile in the 1970s, when General Augusto Pinochet seizes power in a brutal military coup. Bruhl and Watson play Daniel and Lena, a young German couple involved with anti-Pinochet protesters, get swept up in a wave of arrests following the coup. When Daniel is sent to a Christian cult for reeducation, Lena decides to go undercover, joining the cult to try and free him.

Swedish star Michael Nyqvist (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) plays the cult leader Paul Schafer. The film is based on Schafer's real-life Colonia Dignidad cult, which operated for decades in cooperation with the Pinochet regime.

"The incredible true story behind Colonia needed to be told," said Gallenberger. "I’m happy and proud that thanks to our outstanding cast a wide audience will not only see a gripping thriller, but also find out the truth about one of the darkest chapters of South American history."

Colonia premiered in Toronto, where it generated strong buyer interest.

In addition to the U.S. deal, Beta inked sales for multiple territories, including France, Italy, Benelux, Scandinavia, South Korea, and Latin America. Berlin-based Majestic Film, which produced Colonia, will release the film in Germany.

"It’s not often we see a film with the scale of Colonia come to market," said Tom Yagielski, vp domestic distribution at Screen Media. "The cast, led by Emma Watson and Daniel Bruhl’s stellar performances, is what drives the harrowing escape at the heart of the film. We can’t wait for audiences to be thrilled by Florian Gallenberger’s vision for these shocking true events."

Screen Media recently released the Ethan Hawke/Emile Hirsch-starrer Ten Thousand Saints and the mother-son comedy Ride, written, directed by and starring Helen Hunt, which premiered at AFM last year.