Why Martin Katz and Lee Kim saw opportunity in ‘Our House’

The Canada-Germany coproduction features an up-and-coming director and established British screenwriter.
anthony scott burns 2016

Director Anthony Scott Burns

Production is underway in Toronto and Port Hope, ON on the horror thriller, Our House, the first feature film from director Anthony Scott Burns.

The Canada-Germany coproduction is produced by Prospero Pictures, Resolute Films and Entertainment and Senator Film Produktion.

The film, a remake of the 2010 sci-fi film Ghost from the Machine, is written by Moon screenwriter Nathan Parker. It follows Ethan (played by Me and Earl and the Dying Girl‘s Thomas Mann), a young genius who accidentally creates a device that can potentially bring spirits back from the dead.

Prospero’s Martin Katz and Resolute Films’ Lee Kim were brought together by mutual friend and Elevation Pictures co-president Noah Segal, who encouraged them to pursue a coproduction. They then approached Ulf Israel of Senator to come on board.

“Here you have an exciting well-known British writer who did Moon and Equals, with a hot new young director who is Canadian. It just was right for a coproduction structure,” said Resolute’s Kim in an interview with Playback Daily.

“Lee’s done a lot of lower-budget really commercial-oriented films, and I’ve done a lot of international coproductions,” added Katz. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

For Katz, a frequent David Cronenberg collaborator, the project offered him the opportunity to work with an up-and-coming auteur director on an “old-fashioned horror film for the whole family” with wide commercial appeal.

“One area of the market that seems to be stronger than ever is the elevated genre [film],” he says. “Usually it’s either high-concept or it’s the artistry with which the filmmaker is going to deal with the subject matter. I think that’s really what we’ve got here – an auteur director who is going to deliver a film which works the genre level but is also seen as artful cinema. That’s the home run when you’re working in the business,” he said.

Burns, who has previously directed short films and commercials and worked as a VFX artist, has big fans in Lee and Katz, who call the first-time feature director “amazingly talented.”

The producers are targeting Sundance for the film’s premiere and sales at the Berlin market. Our House has already been pre-sold in a number of territories including Elevation Pictures in Canada, Wild Bunch in Germany, Sun Distribution in Latin America and Spain, Abbolita for multiple territories and Falcon Films in the Middle East. XYZ Films are handling foreign sales and co-repping domestic sales with WME.

Our House is produced by Lee Kim, Martin Katz, Karen Wookey and Ulf Israel. Executive producers are Derek Dauchy, John Davis, Kyle Franke, David Kehrl, Adrian Love, Reik Möller, Noah Segal and Nick Spicer.