Indican Pictures has acquired North American rights for Australian filmmaker Alena Lodkina’s fantasy thriller Petrol about the unsettling friendship between a shy film student and an alluring performance artist with a troubled past.
The film originally world premiered at Locarno’s Filmmakers Of The Present competition in 2022, and then enjoyed a buzzy North American premiere at the Lincoln Centre and MoMA’s New Directors/ New Films Festival earlier this year.
Indican Pictures co-founder Randolph Kret negotiated the deal with UK-French film company Alief, with the latter reporting that the distribution company had beaten bids from two other key indie players on both price and its release plans which include a theatrical component.
“Indican Pictures has acquired Petrol, an intense and intoxicating performance piece that is set to be released in 2024,” said Kret.
One of the draws of the film for international buyers is co-star Nathalie Morris, lead of hit series Bump from Australia’s Stan, which played BBC1, CW in the U.S. and HBO Max in Latin America, and is currently readying a fourth season.
In Petrol, Morris plays an impressionable film student of Russian origin who falls under the thrall of an enigmatic performance artist, played by big screen newcomer Hannah Lynch. Petrol is Lodkina’s second feature after Strange Colours which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2017.
It is produced by Kate Laurie under the banner of Melbourne-based production powerhouse Arenamedia (The Dry, Blueback). Following its Locarno debut, Petrol made its Australian premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) and was then released at home in last May by Arena Films.
Further titles on Alief’s current slate include Nigerian Oscar submission Mami Wata, Tallinn Competition title Once Again, IFFR prize-winner New Strains and Jason Raftopoulos dramatic thriller Voices in Deep, which is playing at this year’s edition of Thessaloniki.
Indican, which was co-founded by Shaun Hill co-founded and Kret in 2004, celebrates its 20th anniversary next year. The company has released more than 425 films over its first two decades in existence with recent titles including Lucy And Whitney, Landfill, Abandoned: Angelique’s Isle and The Incredible 25th Year Of Mitzi Bearclaw.