Lions Gate Films, the motion picture acquisition, production and distribution arm of Lions Gate Entertainment, announced yesterday that principal photography has begun on the new crime thriller Borderland today in and around Tijuana, Mexico. Lions Gate joined producer Lauren Moews' Tonic Films, Randall Emmett and George Furla's Emmett/Furla Films, Freedom Films and Elisa Salinas of Tau Productions in making the announcement. Based on true events, the film stars Brian Presley, Rider Strong, Jake Muxworthy, Martha Higareda, Roberto Sosa, Jose Maria Yazpik and Damian Alcazar. It is the story of three young men who end up on the wrong side of an ancient cult in Mexico.
Lauren Moews will produce under the Tonic Films shingle along with Randall Emmett and George Furla of Emmett/Furla Films, Freedom Films and Elisa Salinas of Tau Productions. Susan Jackson of Turtles Crossing and M. Dal Walton, III of Emmett/Furla Films will executive produce along with Deborah Davis, Keith Previte, Rafael Gutierrez Rodriguez, Jeff Rice and Steve Whitney. Peter Block, President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Nick Meyer, President International and Jason Constantine, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions, will oversee the production for Lions Gate, which is handling worldwide distribution on the film.
Tonic Films' Cabin Fever, produced by Moews and exec-produced by Jackson, also distributed by Lions Gate, was a highly profitable horror film in 2003. Produced for $1.5 million, the film has grossed over $34 million worldwide. The title was also a huge hit in video sales and rentals with 1.7 million units shipped to date.
In Borderland, three Texas University seniors, on the eve of their graduation, road-trip to a Mexican Border town for a final weekend of drinking and debauchery. Their vacation becomes a living nightmare as the trio runs afoul of an ancient blood cult looking for human sacrifice. Based on true events, Borderland blends the raw fear of Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the gritty true crime realism of In Cold Blood, evoking a world of paranoia, death and terror.
"Borderland is a rare opportunity at a highly-commercial cross-cultural film which has allowed us to work with a phenomenal Mexican and American cast. We are proud to place the film in the hands of the aggressive visionaries at Lions Gate," said Moews.
"We are excited to be in business with the Cabin Fever team of Lauren Moews and Lions Gate. This movie will have tremendous audience appeal because of its true-life storyline," said Furla.
"Borderland, a uniquely chilling thriller based on real life events, triggers our deepest fears. The production of this compelling, gritty Mexican tale reaffirms Lions Gate's commitment to genre and Latino films with global appeal," said Meyer.
"Zev Berman and Eric Poppen have taken a ripped from the headlines true story and written a pulse-quickening, white knuckler of a script that is among the most intense I have read. We look forward to working with them to deliver a film that is equally terrifying and will satisfy audiences of the genre," said Block.
Director Zev Berman made his debut in 2002 with the Southern Gothic thriller Plain Dirty for Tonic Films. Berman wrote the screenplay for Borderland with Eric Poppen. Moews brought the project to Lions Gate. Susan Jackson and Moews along with attorneys Joel Behr and Howard Abramson negotiated the deal on behalf of Tonic Films with M. Dal Walton, III, Vice President of Development and Business Affairs and attorneys David B. Feldman and Richard Thompson representing Emmett/Furla Films. Block and Sam Wollman, Director, Business and Legal Affairs negotiated the deal for Borderland on behalf of Lions Gate.