FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ACTION SLATE RELEASING AND MILLENNIUM ENTERTAINMENT ACQUIRE NORTH AMERICAN DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS TO NOBORU IGUCHI’S DEAD SUSHI
September 27, 2012 (Las Vegas, NV) – Action Slate Releasing (Laddaland, The Liquidator, High Kick Girl!, Contract Killers, The Sanctuary), a division of Birch Tree Entertainment and a Millennium Entertainment distribution line, announced today that it has acquired the North American distribution rights to DEAD SUSHI from Japan’s Walker Pictures, the production arm of Tokyo-based talent agency Office Walker. Art Birzneck of Birch Tree and Yoichi Sakai of Walker Pictures inked the deal prior to the US Premiere of DEAD SUSHI at Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the US. DEAD SUSHI was co-produced by Nishimura Eizo and is directed by acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Noboru Iguchi (The Machine Girl, Robo-Geisha, The ABCs of Death) and stars 21-year-old karate champion Rina Takeda (High Kick Girl!, Karate Girl), both of whom attended the US premiere. Takeda also received the Gutbuster Comedy award for Best Actress from the festival jury, the first time the award was presented.
“We are excited about this acquisition,” stated Art Birzneck, President & CEO of Birch Tree Entertainment. “DEAD SUSHI has been selected for over 30 film festivals worldwide and is proving to be an audience favorite. We look forward to working with Walker Pictures on DEAD SUSHI and their future films.”
“We are pleased to have strong partners like Action Slate Releasing and Millennium Entertainment handling DEAD SUSHI in North America,” stated Walker Pictures CEO Katsumi Otani. “DEAD SUSHI is the first step in our plan to produce commercial films for the international marketplace.”
The film, which stars 21-year-old martial arts prodigy Rina Takeda, tells the tale of Keiko, the daughter of a legendary sushi chef, who runs away from home when her father’s kung fu-like regimen becomes too severe. Finding work at a rural hot springs inn, she is ridiculed by the eccentric staff and guests, including the employees of a pharmaceutical firm there on a work vacation. But little do they know that a disgruntled former researcher has also come to the inn with a plan for revenge, using a serum he developed that can awaken the murderous instincts of ordinary sushi, turning it into bloodthirsty monsters! Keiko must use both her sushi training and her martial arts skills to save the others and defeat the flying killers.
About Birch Tree Entertainment
Birch Tree Entertainment, founded in 2003 by President & CEO Art Birzneck, is an international film sales and production company specializing in high quality martial arts and action films for the worldwide marketplace. Birch Tree represents films from many countries including the US, Finland, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Netherlands and Kazakhstan.
About Walker Pictures
Walker Pictures is the brand-new film distribution division of Office Walker, Inc. Office Walker, which was founded in 1989, is a Tokyo-based talent agency representing authentic singers, musicians and actors, including DEAD SUSHI co-star Shigeru Matsuzaki, one of the top singers in Japan. Taro Hakase, the most popular violin player in Japan and a collaborator of Celine Dion’s, also belongs to a group company. As a new division, Walker Pictures will begin to produce internationally marketable films and also seek to purchase foreign films for the Japanese film market, and, through these new activities, create a synergy with their talent roster.
About Action Slate Releasing
Action Slate Releasing acquires and distributes high quality martial arts, action and horror films from around the world to the US marketplace. Action Slate is the US/Canada releasing arm of international film sales and production company Birch Tree Entertainment. Recent releases of Action Slate Releasing include Laddaland, Thailand’s highest grossing domestic film of 2011, The Liquidator starring Vinnie Jones, and High Kick Girl starring Rina Takeda.
About Millennium Entertainment
Formed in 2010 and led by CEO Bill Lee, Millennium Entertainment is a leading independent supplier that acquires and distributes feature films. Up next the company will release The Paperboy, directed by the Oscar-nominated Lee Daniels (Precious) and starring Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo, Macy Gray, John Cusack and Nicole Kidman. Most recently the company released Simon West’s Stolen starring Nicolas Cage, Malin Akerman and Josh Lucas; Jay Chandrasekhar’s The Babymakers, starring Olivia Munn, Paul Schneider, Aisha Tyler, Kevin Heffernan and Wood Harris; Red Lights, written and directed by Rodrigo Cortés, and featuring an all-star cast led by Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Toby Jones, Joely Richardson and Elizabeth Olsen; Richard Linklater’s Bernie, co-written by Skip Hollandsworth and Linklater, starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey. Other releases include Little Birds, starring Juno Temple and Kay Panabaker, with Leslie Mann and Kate Bosworth; A Little Bit Of Heaven starring Kate Hudson; Trespass starring Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman and Trust starring Clive Owen. The company recently acquired What Maisie Knew from directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel and starring Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård and Steve Coogan as well as Josh Boone’s directorial debut Writers starring Lily Collins, Jennifer Connelly, Greg Kinnear and Kristen Bell at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.