Strand Releasing has acquired North American rights to Bassam Tariq’s “Mogul Mowgli,” co-written, starring and produced by Riz Ahmed. The movie world premiered at the Berlin Film Festival where it won the Fipresci International Critics’ Prize.
Produced by Thomas Benski, CEO of Pulse Films, and Ahmed’s Left Handed Films banner, “Mogul Mowgli” recently received seven British Independent Film Award nominations. Strand plans for a theatrical release in the spring.
“Mogul Mowgli,” which marks Tariq’s debut narrative feature, follows the story of a rapper, Zed (Ahmed), who, on the cusp of his first world tour, is struck down by an illness that forces him to face his past, his family, and the uncertainty of his legacy.
” ‘Mogul Mowgli’ is unlike anything I’ve done before or seen before,” said Ahmed. “In a time where identity is at the forefront of our cultural conversation, Bassam has explored it in a bold and genre-defying way.”
Benski said, ” ‘Mogul Mowgli’ is a true testament to the vision of groundbreaking filmmaker Bassam Tariq and Riz Ahmed, who is one of the most exciting, multifaceted talents in the world.”
“This film is as original as it is vital, and represents what excites us most at Pulse Films, telling unique stories that create moments of culture,” added Benski.
Strand’s co-founder Jon Gerrans said the company was looking forward “to be working with such a vibrant and diverse film,” and said that representing both Bassam and Riz in this project is a dream.”
Left Handed and Pulse produced the film with Bennett McGhee at Silvertown Films, and Michael Peay. BBC Film, Cinereach, SFFILM Invest, Vice Studios, and RYOT Films boarded the project as financiers.
The deal was negotiated between Gerrans and Harriet Harper-Jones of Endeavor on behalf of Charades Film Sales and the producing team.
Strand has been firing up high-profile arthouse acquisitions in the last several weeks. The outfit notably picked up Agnieszka Holland’s “Charlatan” from Films Boutique, and Majid Majidi’s “Sun Children” from Celluloid Dreams.
“Mogul Mowgli” is the first feature film produced by Left Handed. The company’s development slate includes the feature film “Hamlet.”