Timur Bekmambetov’s thriller “Profile,” which made waves at Berlin in 2018 for being seen entirely through a computer screen, has landed worldwide distribution from Focus Features.
Focus will release “Profile” in theaters domestically on May 14, 2021, while Universal Pictures will distribute internationally, excluding CIS/Russia.
“Profile” was shot using the Screenlife format, a platform pioneered by Bekmambetov that allows for the action to play out through webcams, computer screens, smartphones and social media windows. The technology has recently become more common in films like the horror movie “Unfriended” and the thriller “Searching” starring John Cho. Most recently, Bekmambetov was a producer on “R#J,” a new take on “Romeo & Juliet” for the TikTok era that also used Screenlife and premiered at Sundance.
The story of “Profile” follows an undercover British journalist in her quest to bait and expose a terrorist recruiter through social media, while trying not to be sucked in by her recruiter and lured into becoming a militant extremist herself. Valene Kane (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) stars in the film along with Shazad Latif (“Star Trek: Discovery”).
“Profile” is Bekmambetov’s first film using the Screenlife format. It made its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in 2018, winning an Audience Award from the festival and then taking the same prize at SXSW later that year.
The film is inspired by the 2015 nonfiction bestseller “In the Skin of a Jihadist” by a French journalist who now has round-the-clock police protection and has changed her name to Anna Érelle. “Profile” was written by Britt Poulton, Timur Bekmambetov and Olga Kharina. Bekmambetov and Kharina are the producers under the Bazelevs banner.
Executive producers on “Profile” are Adam Sidman and Maria Zatulovskaya from Bazelevs, Igor Tsay, Valerii An and Oleg Petrov from Interface Films and Rick Sobalvarro.
“While the pandemic has shifted our entire lives online, with school gone remote, work meetings replaced by videocalls, and happy hours virtual, it has also raised numerous questions about our digital privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity. That makes this the best time to watch a movie like ‘Profile’ for those who have spent months in lockdown with their computer screens and who can relate to the paranoia and riskiness driven by the Internet and online technologies in a time when everyone from the terrorists to your government wants a piece of your digital exposure,” Bekmambetov said in a statement.
The sale of the film was negotiated by WME.
Bekmambetov is represented by WME and Chase Mellen III. Kane is represented by Untitled Entertainment. Latif is represented by Principal Entertainment LA. Adams is represented by Berwick & Kovacik. Rahimzadeh is represented by Cherry Parker Management. Watkins is represented by Independent Talent Group. Cater is represented by Middleweek Newton Talent Management.