CINEUROPA February, 12 | Fabien Lemercier
The French sales agent is pinning its hopes on the Berlin competition title by Brazil’s Caetano Gotardo and Marco Dutra as well as on the Panorama-screened documentary Days of Cannibalism.
French international sales agent Indie Sales will be able to boast a jam-packed line-up of 12 titles at the European Film Market of the 70th Berlinale (20 February-1 March). Standing out in particular is a feature that will be vying for the Golden Bear: All the Dead Ones by Brazilian duo Caetano Gotardo and Marco Dutra (Special Jury Prize at Locarno in 2017 for Good Manners [+]). The movie, which has been produced by Brazilian outfit Dezenove Som e Imagens together with France’s Good Fortune Films (Clément Duboin and Florence Cohen), will have its official world premiere on Sunday 23 February.
The story, written by the pair of directors, kicks off in 1899, shortly after slavery has been abolished in Brazil. After the death of their last house slave, the three women of the Soares family are at a loss in the rapidly expanding city of São Paulo. The family, which once owned coffee plantations, is now on the brink of ruin and struggling to adapt. At the same time, the Nascimento family, who used to work as slaves on the Soares’ farm, now find themselves adrift in a society in which there is no place for recently freed black people. Interestingly, the cinematography was entrusted to Hélène Louvart (Alice Rohrwacher’s regular collaborator, who also turned heads last year for her work on The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão [+]).
At Berlin, the Indie Sales team headed up by Nicolas Eschbach (who will be aided by Florencia Gil) will also have high hopes for the documentary Days of Cannibalism by US helmer Teboho Edkins, which will be unveiled in Panorama. Produced by France (Janja Kralj for KinoElektron) together with South Africa (Days Zero Films) and the Netherlands (Keplerfilm), the movie delves deep into Africa, to the western-like landscapes of today’s Lesotho, where modern pioneers of capitalism clash with local traditions, and aspiring Chinese merchants compete for supremacy with traditional Basotho cattle breeders.
Indie Sales will also be topping up the sales of Our Lady of the Nile [+] by Atiq Rahimi, which was first revealed at Toronto and will have its European premiere at the Berlinale, in the Generation section.
Standing out among the movies being pre-sold (and currently in post-production) are On a Half Clear Morning by Bruno Dumont (see the article – a promo-reel of which will be unveiled at the EFM), Dead & Beautiful by Dutch director David Verbeek (a vampire flick set in an Asian megalopolis – a production by Lemming Film together with Taiwanese outfit House on Fire International) and the doc Bigger Than Us by Flore Vasseur (which follows seven young activists hailing from all over the world, and which is being produced by Marion Cotillard via the company All You Need, together with Big Mother Productions and Elzévir Films). And that’s not to mention the animated feature Calamity by France’s Rémi Chayé (Long Way North [+]), which is currently in production. A promo-reel of this film will also be available to watch.
Lastly, Indie Sales will be organising market-premiere screenings of Adventures of a Mathematician by Thor Klein (see the article), Welcome to the Jungle by Hugo Benamozig and David Caviglioli (toplined by Vincent Dedienne and Catherine Deneuve – see the article), Man Up! [+] by Benjamin Parent (see the article), Fishlove by Olivier Babinet (see the news) and Enormous [+] by Sophie Letourneur (which premiered at Rotterdam).
As a reminder, Indie Sales’ Belgian subsidiary, Best Friend Forever, will also be hard at work at the EFM, showcasing several strong titles (see the article).
Variety, June, 12 | Elsa Keslassy
“Bigger Than Us,” the environment-themed documentary executive produced by Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard and directed by Flore Vasseur, has been pre-sold by IndieSales to several major territories in the run to the Cannes virtual Marché du Film.
Currently in post-production, “Bigger Than Us” will be pitched live by Cotillard, Vasseur and the 18-year-old Indonesian environmental activist Melati Wijsen who is the docu’s protagonist, during Cannes’ online market on June 23. The talk, accessible only to registered buyers, will be moderated by CPH:DOX festival director Tine Fischer and will be followed by a Q&A.
Indie Sales, which will also unveil exclusive first footage of the film during Marché du Film, has already inked deals with Koch Media (Germany), Maison 4:3 (Canada). Distribution in France will be handled by Jour2Fête with a release scheduled for December. Mars previously had French distribution rights.
In recent years, documentaries shedding light on environmental issues have gained grounds thanks to the support of high-profile talent and have shown some theatrical potential. A driving force behind this docu, Cotillard said that she’s “been involved in environmental and social causes, fighting to raise awareness for a more equitable world… for more than 20 years.”
In “Bigger Than Us,” Vasseur (“Meeting Snowden”) follows Wijsen, who who has been lobbying her local government to ban the sale and distribution of plastic bags on her island, Bali, for more than six years. The documentary portrays Melati as she embarks on a journey to meet other young leaders and young activists based around the world to foster youth empowerment.
“Bigger Than Us” is produced by well-established producers, Denis Carot at Elzévir Films (“Marie’s Story,” “Home”), Marion Cotillard’s outfit All You Need is Prod, along with Vasseur’s Big Mother Productions.
IndieSales’ roster also includes “Should The Wind Drop,” the Armenian-French director Nora Martirosyan’s feature debut which is part of Cannes’ 2020 Official Selection and ACID lineup.
Cineuropa June, 8th | Muriel Del Don
In his third feature film, Olivier Babinet shows us a world teetering dangerously close to the edge, which only love can pull us back from
Despite the healthy dose of humour and surrealism flooding all his films, Olivier Babinet has no qualms about conjuring up a worrying, uncertain and constantly mutating future, helmed by depressed anti-heroes who wield undeniable decadent charm. Another characteristic of his works is a willingness to explore often uncomfortable social issues: adolescence as it plays out on the city outskirts, as was the focus of the documentary Swagger presented in Cannes (ACID) in 2016, and the environment, with respect to his latest fascinating film Fishlove, selected for NIFFF 2020.
The world is in bad shape: fish are pretty much extinct, and the seas and oceans resemble underwater graveyards. As scientists the world over desperately hunt for a solution to a now planetary problem, French biologist Daniel Luxet (the brilliant Gustave Kervern) tries to re-invigorate fish with the desire to copulate. It’s ironic that his work should revolve around reproduction, given that he himself wallows in a progressively prison-like state of solitude, celibate and obsessed with becoming a father, a desire he hasn’t quite managed to satisfy. One day, unexpectedly, as he happens to catch a strange or at least ambiguously-shaped fish (which he names Nietzsche), he meets Lucie, a young woman (the astonishing India Hair) who pushes him to face up to his fears and the absurdity of his existence. This happy encounter has a series of consequences which will help our solitary biologist to understand what he’s really missing and will guide him down an unexpected path towards happiness of a kind he might have always denied himself.
In this astonishing, apocalyptically-toned, romantic comedy, Babinet tackles the topic of the environment, but also that of paternity and stereotypical masculinity, in genuinely surprising fashion. With humour and poetry, Fishlove (a title and a guarantee) homes in on two characters on the edge, beautiful losers lost in a world they no longer understand but who are nonetheless inhabited by a thirst for tenderness that makes them invincible. As the world moves ever closer towards the abyss, Daniel and Lucie try to find an escape from world destruction in their love. Despite its delightfully improbable, (inevitably) heterosexual love story, Fishlove sidesteps all the usual clichés associated with procreation and so-called “masculinity”. Indeed, Babinet gives us a character who is wrestling with the absurdities of this socially constructed form of masculinity which encourages us to believe that happiness can only come with fatherhood unfolding within a “standard” heteronormative couple. Daniel gradually becomes aware of this prison, of the absurd battle involved in living a “normal” life, which ultimately can’t bring him the happiness he so desires.
Babinet seems to want to open our eyes to a “different” world, destroying the present one in order to create another without rules, or rather with different, more creative and stimulating rules. The relationship between man and beast is also called into question, analysed and portrayed with a redeeming dose of imagination and creativity. Daniel, a renowned researcher and scientist, allows himself to be overcome by anthropomorphic tendencies which see him interpreting the actions of his protégé, the fish (of the axalotl species) Nietzsche, on the basis of human emotions. A sense of friendship and understanding develops between the two, by far transcending any differences between their species; a deep bond which has no need for words. Fishlove helps us to understand that the disappearance of humankind would also mean the disappearance of an irreplaceable form of beauty and ingenuity. The planet’s diversity (in all its forms: sexual, gender, species …) must be preserved and valorised, because this will be the trait to transform the world into the place of our dreams.
Fishlove is a co-production between Comme des Cinémas (France) and Tarantula Belgique, with international sales in the hands of Indie Sales.
VARIETY February 11, 2020 | Elsa Keslassy
Indie Sales, the Paris-based company which sold the Oscar-nominated “My Life as a Zucchini” around the world, has come on board Florence Miailhe’s “The Crossing,” a timely, hand-painted animated feature shedding light on children refugees.
Written by Miailhe, along with the popular children’s book author Marie Desplechin, “The Crossing” is a contemporary tale exploring the plight of hundreds of thousands of youths who live on the road or in precarious environments with or without their parents. As with “My Life as a Zucchini,” “The Crossing” revolves around children overcoming difficult situations, and addresses an adult audience.
The French company has acquired international sales to “The Crossing” and will start representing the project at Berlin’s European Film Market later this month. “The Crossing” will make the feature debut of Miailhe, who previously directed several critically acclaimed animated shorts, such as the Cesar-winning “A Summer Night Rendez Vous” and “Urban Tale” which won the Special Jury Award in Cannes in 2006.
“The Crossing” centers on a family who is forced to flee their small village which is looted in
darkness. The film follows the heroic journey of the two oldest children, Kyona and Adriel, as they face the road of exile alone, driven by the hope that they will find refuge in a free world at last.
“This exceptional film is the perfect illustration of the power of great art to impact an audience’s perspective on a very important worldwide crisis – the plight of migrant children who are left to fend for themselves – a situation which is increasingly dire,” said Eleanor Coleman, the head of animation and new media acquisitions at Indie Sales.
Coleman praised Miailhe for her “exceptional technique and voice,” as well as “unique storytelling potential (which are) pushing the boundaries of artistic beauty and possibility”.
Veteran film executives and Indie Sales’s co-founder Nicolas Eschbach, said the company’s track record with My Life as a Zucchini” “illustrates the strong international potential that author driven animation has when it
respects distributors’ needs and expectations.”
Eschbach said animated arthouse films like “The Crossing” had the potential to fare well in today’s market as long as the “budget, the commercial potential and the targeted audience match the ambition and assets of the creative team.”
Adult-skewing animated films dealing with contemporary social and political issues have proven popular within festival circuits, as well as in theaters. Recent examples include the Indie Sales-repped “Another Day of Life,” which world premiere as a special screening at Cannes. The movie is set against the backdrop of the 1975 Angolan civil war.
“The Crossing” was pitched at Cartoon Movie last year, after being presented in the work-in-progress session at Annecy in 2018. It will also be back at this year’s Cartoon Movie event. “The Crossing” was produced by Les Films de l’Arlequin, Balance Films, XBO Films and Maur Film. “The Crossing” will be released this Spring in France by Gebeka Films.
SCREENDAILY January, 30 | MELANIE GOODFELLOW
Paris-based Indie Sales has acquired world sales rights to Teboho Edkins’ documentary Days Of Cannibalism ahead of its premiere in the Berlinale’s Panorama Dokumente section.
Shot in the southern African country of Lesotho, the work explores the impact of the arrival of a wave of Chinese entrepreneurs on its rural communities, which traditionally made their living from cattle farming.
Edkins, who describes the feature as a “contemporary documentary western”, captures the simmering tensions as forces of capitalism challenge the old order and traditions.
“Teboho managed to film people whose lives are deeply reshaped by globalisation but with enough distance to leave open the question whether it’s a tragedy or a story yet-to-be written,” said Indie Sales Clément Chautant.
US-born, South Africa-raised Edkins, who is the son of respected documentary filmmaker and producer Don Edkins, was previously at the Berlinale in 2015 with documentary Coming Of Age which screened in the Generation 14plus section.
The new documentary was produced by Janja Kralj at Paris-based production company KinoElektron. French sales and distribution company Jour 2 Fête co-produced the film and will release it in France later this year. Kralj’s previous credits include Ben Russell’s Good Luck and Sharunas Bartas’s Frost.
The production won a string of development and post-production awards which helped bring it to fruition including the inaugural Dutch €50,000 post-production award of the International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Pro Industry section in 2019.
Indie Sales is also handling Brazilian Golden Bear contender All The Dead Ones by Caetano Gotardo and Marco Dutra for which it has released a new image [pictured]. Gotardo and Dutra previously collaborated on Locarno jury prize winner Good Manners.
The production crosses between period drama and genre, depicting the decline of a family at the end of 19th century in the quickly developing São Paulo, from the point of view of female characters.
Gotardo and Dutra reunited with producers Sara Silveira’ Dezenove and Clément Duboin’s Good Fortune Films on the production. Jour 2 Fête will release the film in France while Vitrine Filmes will handle it in Brazil.
Indie Sales is also selling Atiq Rahimi’s Our Lady Of The Nile which will get its European premiere in Berlinale Generation after world premiering in Toronto last year.