Awkward Sexual Adventure lands more remake deals

Five years after the film premiered at TIFF, Banana-Moon Sky and julijette Inc's indie feature has secured more adaptation deals in Russia, India and elsewhere.

More than four years after Banana-Moon Sky Films and julijette Inc sold the remake rights to its feature film My Awkward Sexual Adventure into South Korea, France and Lithuania, the Toronto-based producer has announced a raft of new sales.

The project has been acquired on remake deals in four new territories: Russia (Star Media), Poland (Novel Films), Ukraine (SMG) and India (Baweja Movies).

The film, directed by Sean Garrity, follows a conservative accountant who enlists the help of an exotic dancer to guide him on a quest for sexual experience as he attempts to win back his ex-girlfriend.

Banana-Moon Sky’s Jonas Chernick, who produced the film with Juliette Hagopian, told Playback that no one was more surprised than he was by the continued interest in acquiring the format rights.

The initial round of sales kicked off following the film’s world premiere at TIFF in 2012. “Remake rights were the last thing on anyone’s mind – this was not something we pursued. The deals came when [those buyers] approached us. We didn’t hustle – we didn’t even think that [remake sales for an indie film] was really possible,” he said.

When remade in Lithuania, however, the project went on to be a big success, opening in 177 theatres (under the title Nepatyres, produced by Vilnius-based Incognito Films) and taking the equivalent of CDN $1.1 million at the box office. The box-office haul made it the second-highest-grossing film in the country in 2015, beating the likes of Fifty Shades of GreyStar Wars: The Force Awakens and Furious 7. The only film to take more was the animated feature Minions.

Chernick notes that he and director Garrity were surprised, shocked and amused when they realized the Lithuanian adaptation was in fact a shot-for-shot remake of the original.

News of the impressive box-office numbers in Lithuania soon spread to neighbouring territories. “I think there was some consensus in Eastern Europe that this was a money maker and a story that could translate,” said Chernick. Incognito then helped facilitate remake deals with Russia, Poland and Ukraine. The Russia and Ukraine deals were negotiated by Archstone Distribution on behalf of the producers, while the Poland and India deals were negotiated by producers Chernick and Hagopian. The producers are not involved in the adaptations though do take a percentage of the revenue generated by them.

Going forward, Chernick said the knowledge that indie-film formats can sell internationally will influence the way he develops feature projects. “Of course, I am thinking about this for other projects for my company down the road. It takes a specific kind of project – it has to hit the bulls-eye and be something that is marketable for remakes in other countries – but it’s definitely on my radar now, and will be with everything that I develop in the future because this one has been such a wonderful surprise,” he said.

In Canada, Awkward Sexual Adventure was distributed by Phase 4 Films, and by Tribeca Film in the U.S. Executive Producers were Hagopian, Berry Meyerowitz and Jessica Labi.

Since its initial release, the original film has also sold to Australia (Rialto Distribution), Benelux (Premiere), France (eOne), Germany (Euro Video), Hong Kong (Edko Films), Hungary (ADS), South Africa (eOne), Russia and CIS (Premium), Scandanavia (eOne), South Korean (Joy-N-Contents), Spain (Alimpro Films), the U.K. (eOne), New Zealand (SBS), Greece (Hollywood Entertainment), Taiwan (Shenchi), China (Red Apollo) and Poland (Kino Swiat).

Next up for Banana-Moon Sky is the feature project James vs. His Future Self, which Chernick co-wrote with Jeremy LaLonde. Set to go to camera later this yearin Northern Ontario, the film is produced by Jordan Walker of Walker Entertainment, Jonathan Bronfman of JoBro Productions and Banana-Moon Sky Films, with LaLonde directing.