Cosmic Cat, the theatrical distribution specialist for award-winning cinema documentaries and feature films, has secured the rights to distribute documentary thriller Killing Escobar across UK cinemas. The film is scheduled for a virtual release through independent cinemas on 12 March.
In 1989, Scottish mercenary and ex-SAS operative, Peter McAleese, was hired by a Colombian drug cartel to lead a small team of ex-special forces commandos on a mission to assassinate the world’s biggest drug baron, Pablo Escobar. With access to footage of the mission and interviews with McAleese and other key players in the story, Killing Escobar reveals how McAleese’s violent upbringing in Glasgow, his training in the SAS and experience as a mercenary in Africa led him to take on this seemingly suicidal mission in the jungles of Colombia and at the very heart of Escobar’s cocaine empire. It also features interviews with Dave Tomkins, Peter’s fellow mercenary, and other key participants in the story, such as DEA officers Javier Pena and Steve Murphy and cartel liaison Jorge Salcedo (whose experiences in Colombia inspired the hit Netflix series Narcos).
Ged Fitzsimmons, Founder/Director, Cosmic Cat said: "We are really excited to be releasing this incredible documentary, following its world premiere at Glasgow Film Festival. As an "impact distributor" we tend to focus on films with some kind of social or political impact potential and that will always remain the case. However, after a year of isolation and empty cinemas, we wanted to get involved in a movie that would excite indie-film fans again. Killing Escobar is the perfect "stranger than fiction" true story: a tough Glaswegian wardog is hired to assassinate the world's most dangerous man. It is thrilling, shocking and poignant. What makes this film unique is the combination of real-life accounts, access-all-areas archive and some really intense drama reconstruction. We cannot wait to see how the UK public respond to such an extraordinary true story."
Killing Escobar (1 x 90 mins), co-produced by Two Rivers Media and Salon Pictures, was commissioned by BBC Scotland and received major production investment from Abacus Media Rights, who hold international distribution rights, and The National Lottery through Screen Scotland. Directed by award-winning filmmaker David Whitney, it will receive its world premiere at Glasgow Film Festival on 7 March.
Mick McAvoy, Head of Factual, Two Rivers Media, says: “Killing Escobar is built around revealing interviews with Peter McAleese and incredible footage of the mission, shot by Peter’s fellow mercenary, Dave Tomkins. Peter and Dave give a unique and terrifying perspective into the murky world of mercenaries and cocaine wars. Peter also reveals how his violent upbringing in Glasgow, his training in the SAS and experience as a mercenary in Africa led him to take on this seemingly suicidal mission - and how it would reshape his life forever. It’s an almost unbelievable story, which we hope audiences across the UK will find truly compelling.”
Dani Carlaw, Head of Unscripted at Screen Scotland said: “It is fantastic to be supporting the virtual release of Killing Escobar, an edge-of-your-seat portrait of the extraordinary life of Peter McAleese, told with great depth and astonishing archive. Screen Scotland is also delighted that this film represents Two Rivers Media’s first completed theatrical feature documentary, a co-production with Salon Pictures. We very much look forward to audiences across the UK being able to see the film in March.”