From Germany, Berlin-basedm-appealhas picked upReturn To Dust(Yin Ru Chen Yan), the Berlinale Competition title from Chinese director Li Ruijun. Starring Wu Renlin and Hai-Qing, it is the story of a humble couple who have both been cast off by their families and forced into an arranged marriage. Against the odds, they form a close bond. m-appeal has a second title in official selection,Concerned Citizenfrom Israeli director Idan Haguel, which screens in Panorama. This is a satirical, darkly comic look at the insidious power of racism, white guilt and the unstoppable creep of gentrification.
Now owned by Mubi, leading world sales companyThe Match Factoryhas two titles in competition:A E I O UA Quick Alphabet Of Loveby Nicolette Krebitz; andRabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bushby Andreas Dresen. The company is also bringing one of its Sundance titles to EFM online,The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Futureby Francisca Alegria, which premiered in the festivals world cinema dramatic competition.
The Playmaker Munichhas a packed EFM slate. The company is launching sales on dark comedyHoly Shit!, directed by Lukas Rinker, about an architect who wakes up stuck in a toilet on a construction site shortly before a demolition blast. A first trailer will be available to buyers. Another Playmaker title, Jons JonssonsAxiom, about an eloquent young museum attendant who turns out not to be what he seems, has its world premiere in the Berlinale Encounters section. Playmaker is also hosting a private screening of completed sci-fiRubikon, directed by Magdalena Lauritsch and starring George Blagden and Mark Ivanir.
Global Screenwill be giving a market premiere to Tobias WiemannsThe Path, about two children fleeing from the Nazis along a secret route through the Pyrenees. The company is also pre-selling animated movieThe Amazing Maurice, about a streetwise tomcat with a money-making scam. Based on a Terry Pratchett novel, and with a voice cast including Hugh Laurie, Emilia Clarke, David Thewlis and Himesh Patel, the film is set for a wide UK release via Sky towards the end of the year.
Beta Cinemahas its new filmThe Forgerscreening as a Berlinale Special Gala. Directed by Maggie Peren, it tells the story of a young Jewish forger living under the noses of the Nazis in 1940s Berlin, and is receiving both online and physical market screenings. Beta is also holding a private, buyers-only screening ofMy Neighbor, Adolf, Leon Prudovskys comedy drama about a lonely Holocaust survivor living in South America in the early 1960s who discovers his neighbour might be the German dictator. Udo Kier stars.
Films Boutiqueis giving a premiere to its Sundance titleGentle, directed by Laszlo Csuja and Anna Nemes, about a female bodybuilder and the sacrifices she has to make to excel at her sport.
Cologne-basedMedia Lunais beginning sales on dark Irish dramaAnn, directed by Ciaran Creagh. It is in post-production and should be ready by early summer.
Philippe Bobers Berlin-basedCoproduction Officeis focusing on its Competition titleRimini, about a washed-up nightclub singer guilty about his past. The film is directed by Austrias Ulrich Seidl.
Berlin-basedPicture Tree Internationalis starting sales on its genre crossover filmWithout Herfrom Iranian filmmaker Arian Vazirdaftari. It tells the story of Roya, a middle-aged woman about to build a new life away from Iran who, after an unsettling encounter, begins to think she is losing her identity.
From Dusseldorf,Patra Spanou Filmsis selling Romanian dramaBlue Moon, one of the hits of San Sebastian Film Festival.
Atlas Internationalis beginning sales on its Germany-Russia thrillerRoxy, from Dito Tsintsadze. Still in production, the film is about a middle-aged taxi driver who becomes embroiled with Russian arms dealers. Atlas will be screening some of the first footage during the EFM.
By Geoffrey Macnab
TrustNordiskhas just boarded food documentaryMichelin Stars II Nordic By Natureby Rasmus Dinesen, which premiered in San Sebastians culinary section and explores a Michelin-starred restaurant on the Faroe Islands. The companys other recent addition is Frelle Petersens Danish family dramaForever. TrustNordisk also has Malou ReymannsUnruly, which is now in post and is a period drama about teenage girls at a 1930s home for morally feeble young women. Footage from the film was shown at Gteborgs Work In Progress event, where it got a strong response. The company will also present two online market screenings of Christian Tafdrups Sundance buzz hitSpeak No Evil.
REInvents promo reel will include highlights from Alex Herrons horror thrillerLeave(one of the first REinvent Chills titles), about a young woman (Alicia Von Rittberg) haunted by a malevolent spirit; Trine Piils coming-of-age thrillerNothing, a Germany-Denmark coproduction; and Bjorn Runges period love storyBurn All My Lettersstarring Bill Skarsgard, Asta Kamma August and Gustav Lindh.
On the episodic side, REinvent has a market screening ofThe Guiltydirector Gustav Mllers first TV series, crime dramaThe Dark Heart, which recently launched at Sundance. Episode links are available forTrom, a crime series shot in the Faroe Islands starring Ulrich Thomsen, recently snapped up by the BBC. REinvent also has Sanna LenkensComedy Queenin Generation Kplus.
LevelKhas just boarded Anders Klarlunds Danish filmThe Last Client, described as a Nordic noir about a psychotherapist and her dangerous new client; the film will have an EFM market screening. In Generation, LevelK is selling the Netherlands-Belgium stop-motion animationOink, about a nine-year-old girl who adopts a messy pig and, fresh from Sundance, Alli Haapasalos lively Finnish dramaGirl Picture, about young women learning about sex and love.
Eyewellhas two new titles for EFM. Kadri Kousaar (Magnus) directs thekidnapping thrillerDeserted, an Estonia-Sweden-Finland co-production that premiered at Busan. Carl Moberg directs the Sweden-Denmark co-productionA Thousand Hours, a romantic drama about a Danish musician who finds a new life in Berlin.
The Yellow Affairhas picked up documentaryJust Animals, directed by Saila Kivela and Vesa Kuosmanen and produced by Finlands prolific Tuffi Films. The film has market screenings during EFM and follows the life of an animal-rights activist as she fightslegal battles and figures out her rolein the movement. The Yellow Affair also has Welby Ings New Zealand dramaPunch, starring Tim Roth, which is now in post.
By Wendy Mitchell
Intramovies EFM line-up includes crime dramaUna Femmina The Code Of Silence, the feature debut of documentary and shorts director Francesco Costabile, which is premiering in Panorama. The Rome-based company is also kickstarting sales on Turkish coming-of-age dramaTime Of Impatience, directed by first-timer Aydin Orak.
The First Day Of My Life, the new film by Paolo Genovese starring Toni Servillo, headlinesTrue Colours slate. The company is also selling Costanza QuatrigliosThe Virus Smuggler, about a woman framed for taking germ samples from her lab.
The Open Reelis coming to EFM with Santiago LeonsThe Good Manners, a Colombian LGBTQ+ coming-of-age film, and will kick off sales on Alejandro AlonsosNight Inside. The drama is an Argentina-Chile co-production.
Minerva Pictureswill be showing buyersBad Blood, an urban Italian noir that marks the feature debut of Simone Hebara.
Filmexportwill be sellingShadow Of The Wolf, Alberto Gelpis pandemic-delayed thriller.
TVCOsItaly-France co-productionItalia Fire And Ashes, about Italian silent cinema, will be screened for the first time at EFM. The documentary is directed by Cline Gailleurd and Olivier Bohler and features the voice of Isabella Rossellini for the Italian and English versions, and Fanny Ardant for the French version. Vincenzo Moscas company will also kickstart sales onGirls Dont Cry, the feature directing debut of Andrea Zuliani.
Rai Comis bringing horror thrillerFlowing, the second film from Paolo Strippoli after he co-directed NetflixsA Classic Horror Story. The company will also kickstart sales onSleepless Nights, Kisses For Breakfastfrom comedy actor-turned director Francesco Mandelli.
CoccinellebringsEsthers Orchestra, a Danish romantic comedy directed by Alexander Bak Sagmo (Needle Boy), whileFandangohandles sales onWhat A Life!, an adaptation of Flaubert novelBouvard Et Pcuchetthatis the directorial debut of Giuseppe Battiston.
By Gabriele Niola
Central Partnership has new thriller December, which explores the last few days in the short life of the celebrated provincial poet Sergei Esenin the lover of US dancer Isadora Duncan. The film is directed by Klim Shipenko. Central Partnership will also have footage of Sergey Mokritskiys First Oscar and will be pushing Vasilisa Kuzminas Nika, based on the real story of Soviet child poet Nika Turbina.
Katerina Mikhaylovas Moscow-based Vega Film is presenting its Berlinale Generation entry The Land Of Sasha, from director Julia Trofimova. This is a coming-of-age drama about teenage high-school graduate Sasha who yearns to be a painter but worries about letting down his mother.
Also from Russia, Mars Media is presenting its fantasy film Woland, directed by Michael Lockshin and based on Mikhail Bulgakovs classic novel The Master And Margarita.
All Media will be screening its feature Milk starring Yuliya Peresild (who last year went to space in Klim Shipenkos The Challenge) and directed by Karen Oganesyan.
Art Pictures will be screening comedy Brothers, directed by Daniel Lumerz, while Riveret Films is presenting Once In The Desert directed by Andrey Kravchuk.
By Geoffrey Macnab
Austrian documentary specialistAutlook is beginning sales on Myanmar Diaries, a series of short films made anonymously by the Myanmar Film Collective in the face of last years military coup. The films have been edited by creative producer Corinne van Egeraat and her director partner Petr Lom. Autlook also has Sundance title The Mission, about US missionaries, and Rita Baghdadis Sirens, about an all-female heavy metal band from Beirut.
Vienna-based sales agent Square Eyes, headed by Wouter Jansen, has added two new features in Berlinale official selection to its market slate. The company has taken world sales rights to Philip Scheffners Europe (screening in Forum), a drama about an Algerian woman who loses her right to residency in France in strange circumstances. Also on the Square Eyes slate is another Forum project, Afterwater, the second feature from artist and filmmaker Dane Komljen.
Greek outfit Heretic is handling Russian drama Convenience Store, which will be presented in Berlins Panorama section. Directed by Michael Borodin and produced by Artem Vasilyevs Metrafilms, the film deals with the plight of immigrant workers and modern slavery in Moscow. Heretic also has another Panorama title Working Class Heroes by Serbian director Milos Pusic. Starring Jasna Djuricic, the drama explores corruption, capitalism and injustice through the story of a cold-hearted businesswoman working for a construction investor of dubious morals.
Polands New Europe Film Sales is pushing Berlin Competition title A Piece Of Sky by Michael Koch, set in a mountain village and looking at the strain on a young couple when a man suffers a brain tumour. The company also has Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundssons Panorama title Beautiful Beings, an Icelandic drama about a gang of young outsiders.
Hungarian state outfit NFI World Sales is launching two new films in the EFM: Kristof Deaks debut feature The Grandson, billed as a coming-of-age drama disguised as a crime thriller; and Daniel Tiszekers romantic comedy Christmas Flame, about a fireman whose life stops sizzling when his wedding proposal goes up in flames.
From the Netherlands, DFW International (the sales arm of Dutch FilmWorks) has added romantic comedy Taste Of Love by Ruud Schuurman to its line-up ahead of the market. Barbara Sloesen stars as chef Monica, who has put her early years in a small provincial village firmly behind her. But when she and her boyfriend want to open a new restaurant at a dream location, she is forced to return to her roots. Also new on the DFW slate is Michiel ten Horns family adventure Hotel Sinestra, set during a winter holiday at a Swiss hotel. Eleven-year-old Ava (Bobbie Mulder) wishes that her overprotective parents (Jeroen Spitzenberger and Elise Schaap) would just go away and then mysteriously all the adults vanish.
Dutch Features has acquired international rights to three new titles ahead of the EFM: dark comedy Herman Kills!, written and directed by Joost Reijmers and Thomas van der Ree; courtroom drama Judgment Call, directed by Saskia Diesing, about a politician accused of rape; and family adventure Detective Bruno.
Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Films is beginning its sales drive on We Might As Well Be Dead, a social satire by Natalia Sinelnikova, starring Ioana Iacob in the lead role. The film opens Perspective Deutsches Kino.
Also from the Netherlands, Incredible Film is premiering family action-adventure Charlie Cooper The Egg Mystery.
Brussels-based Be For Films gives a market debut to Mathieu Graults South Sentinel, a drama about a soldier returning to France after traumatic experiences in Afghanistan.
Budapest-based Luminescence will be introducing buyers to Russian animated feature How To Save The Immortal. Directed by Roman Artemiev, the film is in production and due for delivery in late summer.
From Israel, Hedva Goldschmidts Go2Films has taken sales duties on new feature doc Fiddlers Journey To The Big Screen, which tells the story behind Norman Jewisons classic film version of Fiddler On The Roof. The doc is directed by Daniel Rain and narrated by Jeff Goldblum (US distribution is handled by Zeitgeist and Kino Lorber).
Flying high with its award contender Flee, fellow Israeli outfit Cinephil will begin sales on Morgane Dziurla-Petits comic family documentary Excess Will Save Us.
Australian outfit Odins Eye is hatching its latest animation Little Eggs: An African Adventure, and giving a market debut to teen comedy The Library Boys from first-timer Zane Borg. The company is also pre-selling shark adventure.
By Geoffrey Macnab
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