EXCLUSIVE: Wild Bunch International (WBI) has boarded sales on buzzy Portuguese director, artist and producer Gabriel Abrantes’ upcoming English-language feature Amelia’s Children.
The film is among half a dozen new titles being launched by WBI at the EFM, alongside a raft of previously announced upcoming films, including Cannes hopefuls such as Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s Monster.
The company is also handling Berlinale Competition selections, Philippe Garrel’s The Plough and Makoto Shinkai’s hotly awaited anime Suzume, and the Panorama title Heroic, which world premiered at Sundance.
Abrante’s psychological thriller Amelia’s Children is his solo feature debut and his first feature since his 2018 Cannes Critics’ Week winner Diamantino (co-directed with Daniel Schmidt).
The film reunites him with its star Carloto Cotta. Other key cast members are Brigette Lundy-Paine (Atypical) and Alba Baptiste (Warrior Nun).
Cotta plays a man whose search for his biological family leads him and his girlfriend Ryley to a magnificent villa high in the mountains of Northern Portugal.
His excitement at meeting his long-lost mother and twin brother soon turns to horror when he discovers he is linked to them by a monstrous secret.
Abrantes also produces under the banner of his company Artificial Humors with Margarida Lucas. WBI will show the first trailer for the film which is in post-production.
Further recent acquisitions on the EFM slate include Chinese Amsterdam-based director Qiu Yang’s Some Rain Must Fall, his debut feature after Cannes Palme d’Or winning short A Gentle Night and Changzhou-set short She Runs.
Some Rain Must Fall follows a 40-year-old housewife, whose life spins out of control when she inadvertently hurts an elderly lady while attending one of her daughter’s basketball matches.
The film is described as psychological and political work exploring the economic insecurity of the middle classes as well as the Chinese family unit.
Producers are Yang’s Wild Grass, France’s Why Not Productions and Good Chaos, in a first collaboration between the latter’s CEO Mike Goodridge and the WBI team. There will be a teaser for the film which is in post-production.
Other previously announced titles on the WBI slate which will be launched at the EFM include Les Indésirables, the second feature from Ladj Ly after his Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner Les Misérables.
Currently in production, the film reunites Ly with Les Misérables star Alexis Manenti in the role of the newly arrived mayor of a working-class neighborhood, whose ambitions to gentrify the area threaten to displace its existing community.
Anta Diaw co-stars as a young woman and long-time resident of Malian origin who refuses to be driven out and puts up a fight.
Srab Films, which produced Les Misérables and Alice Diop’s Venice Silver Lion winner Saint Omer, lead produces with Ly’s Lyly Films.
The company will also launch sales on British-Palestinian director Farah Nabulsi’s The Teacher, her debut feature after Oscar-nominated, BAFTA-winning short film The Present.
Saleh Bakri stars as a teacher struggling to reconcile his political activism in support of the Palestinian cause with his professional responsibilities and a budding new relationship with a volunteer worker, played by Imogen Poots (The Father).
The company will also market premiere Kurdish-Belgian director Sahim Omar Kalifa’s touching drama Baghdad Messi, about a young Iraqi Lionel Messi fan who dreams of being as strong as his idol on the soccer pitch, even after he loses a leg in an attack in his war-torn country.
The film expands on Kalifa’s award-winning short of the same name and is his second feature after the drama Zagros, about a happily married Kurdish couple whose relationship is torn apart when the wife moves to Belgium to escape vicious village rumors.
In an unusual move for the company, WBI has also picked up remaining sales territories – which include Canada, the U.S., India and Latin America (except Brazil) – for Giuseppe Tornatore’s Ennio. The bio-doc exploring the life of the late Oscar-winning Italian composer Ennio Morricone premiered in Venice last year.
The slate also includes a raft of previously announced WBI titles Deadline expects to see debut at Cannes this year.
These include Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s Monster, for which the sales pact with Gaga was announced earlier on Thursday. The companies will debut the first trailer at the EFM.
Other Croisette hopefuls on the slate include Ken Loach’s The Old Oak, Maïwenn’s Johnny Depp starring historical drama Jeanne Du Barry and the potential breakout title Salem by Jean-Bernard Marlin.