Paramedic Thriller ‘Black Flies’ Starring Sean Penn & Tye Sheridan Renamed ‘Asphalt City’ As Vertical And Roadside Set North American Release

January 30, 2024

Vertical and Roadside Attractions have jointly acquired the North American distribution rights for "Asphalt City," a gripping paramedic thriller featuring Sean Penn (Milk) and Tye Sheridan (The Card Counter). The film, which originally premiered at the Cannes Film Festival as "Black Flies," is set to make its exclusive theatrical debut on March 29th, competing with releases like Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and the Kino Lorber documentary, On the Adamant.

Directed by French filmmaker Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire (A Prayer Before Dawn) and written by Ryan King (The Tutor) and Ben Mac Brown, the movie is adapted from Shannon Burke's 2008 novel of the same name. "Asphalt City" follows Ollie Cross (Sheridan), a young paramedic partnered with the seasoned New York City EMT, Gene Rutkovsky (Penn), during the challenging night shifts. The film unveils a city in crisis as Rutkovsky mentors Cross through perilous and uncertain 911 calls, where their commitment to saving lives puts them in constant jeopardy. As Cross delves into the chaotic and emotional aspects of the job, he navigates the fine line between life and death, testing the boundaries of his relationship with Rutkovsky and confronting ethical dilemmas head-on.

The cast of "Asphalt City" includes Gbenga Akkinagbe (Fast Charlie), Raquel Nave (Bizarre Again), Kali Reis (True Detective: Night Country), Michael C. Pitt (Ghost in the Shell), Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore), and Mike Tyson (The Hangover).

Produced by Sculptor Media, in collaboration with Projected Picture Works, AZA Films, Two & Two Pictures, and Dogwood Pictures, the film boasts an impressive lineup of producers, including Warren Goz, Eric Gold, Christopher Kopp, Lucan Toh, Sean Penn, John Ira Palmer, John Wildermuth, Tye Sheridan, and Tina Wang. The executive producers list comprises James Masciello, Matthew Sidari, Mitchell Zhang, Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, Jamie Buckner, Luke Rodgers, Shannon Burke, Babak Anvari, and Ryan King. FilmNation Entertainment is overseeing international sales for the movie.