In Flames, the feature debut of Pakistani-Canadian director Zarrar Kahn, has been picked up for the U.S. market by Game Theory Films.

The Urdu-language horror movie, which premiered as part of Cannes Directors’ Fortnight lineup, follows a young woman and her mother tormented by real and fantastic forces following the death of the family patriarch. The ensemble cast includes Ramesha Nawal, Bakhtawar Mazhar, Omar Javaid, Mohammad Ali Hashmi, Adnan Shah Tipu and Jibraan Khan.

A theatrical release is set in early 2024 in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Toronto and Vancouver, with a focus on South Asian audiences across North America. A home video and video-on-demand release of In Flames is scheduled to follow in the second quarter of 2024.

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The AFM deal for In Flames with sales agent XYZ Films follows Game Theory Films earlier nabbing the Canadian rights out of Cannes to the horror film that is also Pakistan’s entry to the 96th Academy Awards for best international feature. The film will next compete at the Red Sea Film Festival after earlier festival showings in Toronto, Busan, Sitges, Pingyao, Helsinki and SXSW Sydney.

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In Flames has already proved on the festival circuit its ability to connect with viewers around the world – we are confident American audiences will respond to Zarrar Kahn’s gripping, genre-bending, directorial debut and are thrilled to have the opportunity to share it with them,” Game Theory Films co-president Hilary Hart, along with Will Woods, said in a statement.  

In Flames kicked off XYZ Films’ new label for low-budget international genre films, called New Visions.

“I’m thrilled to have Game Theory as our partner in bringing In Flames to U.S. audiences. Will and Hilary have a discerning eye, and a pathbreaking approach to distribution. For our genre-bending film, this is a dream collaboration,” director Khan said in a statement.

Game Theory earlier picked up the North American rights to The Young Arsonists from filmmaker and artist Sheila Pye out of Berlin. The boutique distributor’s focus on non-English language Canadian films includes acquiring Anthony Shim’s Toronto Platform Prize winner Riceboy Sleeps and the Tallinn Black Nights title Tenzin, directed by Joshua Reichmann and Michael LeBlanc.

The AFM distribution deal for In Flames was negotiated by Woods and Hart at Game Theory Films and by Shant Joshi at Fae Pictures for the filmmakers.

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