Friday, June 14, 2024

EST N8 Shifts Into Asia Theatrical, Revs ‘Ferrari’ Regional Outings

Los Angeles- and Bangkok-based film sales joint venture EST N8 is expanding into theatrical distribution in parts of Southeast Asia.

As a first step, it will release the Michael Mann-directed “Ferrari” in Thailand on Thursday and in Myanmar on June 21. The film, which premiered in Venice in September last year, was released in other territories between December and February.

EST N8 was formed EST Studios and N8. EST Studios was launched in 2022 by Jaeson Ma and Eric Tu. It represents Asian content across multiple genres and seeks an annual slate of 15 projects that it can finance, produce and represent. Thailand-based, N8 was founded by Kris Eiamsakulrat and Rachel Wu. Last year N8 formed a partnership with leading Thai studio GDH559, to co-produce a slate of Thai thriller and horror films aimed at the global audience.

The joint venture company says that it will distribute at least one big-budget title per month in Southeast Asia, sourced from leading production companies in the U.S., Europe or Asia. It defines its core territories as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar, but may also pick up rights for Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Although the company has a bulging 20-title sales slate – including Korean sci-fi thriller “30 Minutes,” produced by ‘Tiger’ Yeongseop Kim “Tape,” a Cantonese remake of the Richard Linklater film of the same title and LGBTQ+ romance drama “ASOG,” which premiered at Tribeca, its current Southeast Asian distribution lineup does not include these titles. A company spokesman told Variety that possibility exists in the future.

In the near term, EST N8 plans to approach theatrical distribution from a new angle. “Today, distribution in Asia still relies on traditional channels, with many cinema operators unwilling to invest in P&A. Only horror films find a home in Thailand. Our new strategy focuses less on genre but more on films that can be creatively marketed in the region in a unique way,” said Eiamsakulrat.

N8 set up a country-wide cult event that was staged in most popular attractions days prior to the Thai local release of the horror film “Home for Rent.” Eiamsakulrat says that “pan-Southeast Asia distribution” can build on similar forms of innovative promotion. “We seek to replicate our creative marketing strategies here in Thailand regionally, where we already have a growing and built-in following,” he said.

“We welcome all the filmmakers with the greatest stories never told. In the face of EST N8’s vision of bridging the Eastern and Western worlds, every tiny breakthrough matters,” said Jaeson Ma.

“Home For Rent,” the first fruit of the N8-GDH deal, became one of the most successful horror films last year in Thailand. N8 also co-produced “The Monk and The Gun,” by Pawo Dorji, which premiered at the 2023 Toronto Film Festival and was Bhutan’s official submission for the 2024 Academy Awards. N8 is producing “Heals” by Emmy-winning “Hope Frozen” director Pailin Wedel, featuring Pangina Heals, Asia’s most famous drag queen.

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HomeReviewsEST N8 Shifts Into Asia Theatrical, Revs 'Ferrari' Regional Outings

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