Shudder, AMC Networks’ premiere streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, has announced the acquisition of all rights in its territories (North America, the UK, and Ireland) to the Sundance Film Festival-bound titles SCARE ME and LA LLORONA. SCARE ME, Josh Ruben’s feature-length directorial and screenplay debut, in which he also stars alongside Aya Cash (You’re the Worst) and Chris Redd (Saturday Night Live), will have its world premiere in Sundance’s Midnight Section. Jayro Bustamante’s LA LLORONA will have its U.S. premiere in the festival’s Spotlight Section following its top award-winning world premiere at Venice Days, the independent competitive section of the Venice Film Festival, and it’s Canadian premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.
The comedic thriller SCARE ME unfolds as two strangers tell scary stories during a power outage in the Catskills. The more Fred (Ruben) and Fanny (Cash) commit to their tales, the more the stories come to life in the dark cabin. The horrors of reality manifest when Fred confronts his ultimate fear: Fanny is the better storyteller. Josh Ruben pens a refreshing, hilarious, and self-aware narrative that features committed performances from Ruben, Cash, and Redd that beg the question: what makes a good scare?
Josh Ruben is a five-time Webby Award-winning actor, writer, and director best known for appearing in and/or directing hundreds of shorts for comedy megasite, CollegeHumor. Josh recently directed all ten episodes of Spotify and Funny or Die’s upcoming narrative series, The Last Degree of Kevin Bacon, and is currently in pre-production for his next feature, a horror/comedy whodunnit with Ubisoft Film & Television and Vanishing Angle producing. Ruben is represented by Artists First, ICM and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis.
SCARE ME was produced by Josh Ruben and Irony Point’s Alex Bach and Daniel Powell. ICM negotiated the deal with Shudder’s Emily Gotto.
LA LLORONA follows Enrique, a retired general who oversaw the Mayan genocide and is haunted by his devastating crimes. A tale of horror and magical realism, the film reimagines the iconic Latin American fable as an urgent metaphor for Guatemala’s recent history and tears open the country’s unhealed political wounds to grieve a seldom discussed crime against humanity.
The film received unanimous acclaim out of Venice and TIFF, with The Wrap’s Carlos Aguilar praising its balance “between fact and myth to engender a shrewdly frightening piece of political horror” and Variety’s Guy Lodge calling it “meaty, adventurous auteur cinema.” LA LLORONA marks Bustamante’s third feature and demonstrates his continued efforts to highlight social inequality in his native Guatemala following his previous titles Temblores (2019) and Ixcanul (2016).
LA LLORONA was produced by Jayro Bustamante, Gustavo Matheu, Georges Renand, and Marina Peralta. Film Factory negotiated the deal with Shudder’s Emily Gotto.
Speaking of the acquisition, Shudder’s General Manager Craig Engler said, “We are thrilled that the Sundance Film Festival has recognized the exceptional talents of Jayro Bustamante and Josh Ruben and their new films, each of which pushes the boundaries of genre cinema in exciting and surprising ways. We can’t wait to share LA LLORONA and SCARE ME soon with Shudder members around the world.”
“For independent producers like us, it is very hard to film a movie in a country like Guatemala,” said filmmaker Jayro Bustamante. “It honors us that a distributor like Shudder is supporting a film from a country with an emerging industry. It is very important for us to make visible the social and political horrors from Guatemalan history; and on the other hand, to help the industry grow and display our talent. I am extremely happy that LA LLORONA will be seen in the U.S. at Sundance alongside Shudder.”