NEWS: SXSW Sci-Fi Premiere THE ARTIFICE GIRL Finds Acquisition from XYZ Films!



XYZ Films has acquired the AI Sci-Fi film following its SXSW debut with plans for an immediate theatrical and digital release this spring

Los Angeles, CA (March 14, 2023) – It was announced today that XYZ Films has acquired North American rights to Franklin Ritch’s critically acclaimed sci-fi film THE ARTIFICE GIRL, following its US premiere at South by Southwest Film Festival. The film stars Tatum Matthews (THE WALTONS: HOMECOMING), Lance Henriksen (ALIENS), Sinda Nichols, David Girard, and Ritch.

THE ARTIFICE GIRL world premiered at Fantasia Festival and had its U.S. premiere at SXSW on March 11, 2023, with additional upcoming screenings on March 15 at the Violet Crown Cinema in Austin, TX.

The story follows a small team of special agents who discover a revolutionary computer program that uses a digital child to catch online predators. After teaming up with the program’s troubled developer, they soon find that the AI’s inevitable advancement is far more rapid and incalculable than they could have imagined, posing unforeseen challenges and unsettling consequences for the future of technology and mankind.

“When we read Franklin’s script, we knew it had the potential to be special and have had the unique privilege to develop his bold ideas into a film we are all proud of. To release this with an amazing partner like XYZ, who specializes in supporting exciting new voices in genre, is a perfect way to introduce his timely and thought-provoking story to the world,” said producers Aaron B. Koontz and Ashleigh Snead.

“Franklin Ritch is 100% his own filmmaker but it was so easy to watch ARTIFICE GIRL for the first time and be reminded of debut sci-fi films like THX-1138, MOON, EX MACHINA or TIMECRIMES. He is the real deal and it’s an incredible privilege to handle his first film,” said James Emanuel Shapiro, XYZ’s EVP of US Distribution.

Written and directed by Franklin Ritch, the film was produced by Aaron B. Koontz and Ashleigh Snead (THE PALE DOOR), executive produced by Peter Kuplowsky, and co-produced by Cameron Burns and Alex Euting. The deal was negotiated by James Emanuel Shapiro and Alex Williams on behalf of XYZ Films, and by Aaron B. Koontz and Ashleigh Snead on behalf of the filmmakers.

Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, XYZ has had a standout run of releases, with six movies reaching #1 on Netflix (including recent productions STOWAWAY starring Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette and SYNCHRONIC starring Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan) and several titles reaching #1 on TVOD charts (including films THE SILENCING and ALONE).

XYZ’s current projects include The Winter Kills with Kiefer Sutherland, Seven Veils starring Amanda Seyfried and directed by Atom Egoyan, BlackBerry from director Matt Johnson, which recently premiered in competition at Berlinale and will be released by IFC Films later this year, and The Wasp starring Naomie Harris and Natalie Dormer. Its current slate also includes Nic Cassavetes’ God Is a Bullet starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maika Monroe and Jamie Foxx, Nocebo directed by Lorcan Finnegan with Eva Green and Mark Strong, and Accused from BAFTA-nominated Boiling Point director Phillip Barantini. XYZ is in post-production on the Netflix Original Havoc, directed by Gareth Evans and starring Tom Hardy and Forrest Whitaker.

About Paper Street Pictures
Paper Street Pictures is a boutique production house specializing in high-concept genre films. The company has been behind the production, financing and delivery of multiple films including the 2017 NBC/Universal horror-thriller CAMERA OBSCURA, RLJE and Shudder’s Horror-Western THE PALE DOOR, and the cult Horror-Comedy SCARE PACKAGE franchise. In 2022, Paper Street oversaw the releases of 5 additional genre features including Lucky McKee’s chamber thriller OLD MAN starring Stephen Lang and Noah Segan’s Fantastic Fest darling BLOOD RELATIVES. Upcoming releases for the team include the cannabis horror TRIM SEASON with Alex Essoe and Bex Taylor-Klaus, as well as the Kickstarter record breaker SHELBY OAKS from Chris Stuckmann featuring Camille Sullivan, Keith David and Michael Beach.

About Blood Oath
Genre Consulting firm Blood Oath was formed in late 2020 under a mission of “Making Scary Movies, Less Scary to Make.” Their goal was to help and support filmmakers through all facets of the filmmaking lifecycle including development, budgeting, casting, production, sales, distribution, festivals and release. Recent Blood Oath supported productions include the rom- com horror SORRY ABOUT THE DEMON from Emily Hagins, the SXSW Sci-Fi drama THE ARTIFICE GIRL from Franklin Ritch and upcoming will see the release of THE BUNKER starring Tony Todd and Tobin Bell.

About Last Resort Ideas
Founded by filmmaker Franklin Ritch in 2013, the Jacksonville based production company has produced award winning short films such as BEDRIDDEN and THE 27 DEATHS, both of which were featured in various film festivals including Fantastic Fest, SERF, LOL-Jax, and several others. In July of 2023, Last Resort Ideas premiered its debut feature film at Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal where it received the Golden Audience Award for Best International Feature. Last Resort Ideas is currently gearing up for even more ambitious feature and series projects in 2023 and beyond.

About XYZ Films
XYZ Films is an independent studio whose mission is to empower visionary storytellers from every corner of the planet. As a producer, financier, and distributor, the company is uniquely suited to identify talented filmmakers and bring their stories to life. XYZ recently expanded into talent management, working with a global roster of filmmakers. XYZ was founded in 2008 by Nate Bolotin, Nick Spicer, and Aram Tertzakian. Tatyana Joffe serves as President of International Sales and Distribution. The company’s titles include THE RAID franchise, 2017 Sundance winner I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE, and Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic revenge thriller MANDY.