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Films Distribution picks up Golden Bear contender Harmony Lessons

Paris-based sales outfit also selling Nanouk Leopold’s Panorama screener It’s All So Quiet and documentary Parade.

Films Distribution has picked up international sales on Kazakh director Emir Baigazin’s Harmony Lessons ahead of its premiere in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival next week.

Set in a crime-ridden school in a Kazakh village, Baigazin’s debut feature revolves around 13-year-old boy Aslan who decides to kill a school gang leader and bully who has made his life a misery.

“It’s a rare film in that it’s coming out of Kazakhstan and is by a first time director… we were initially sceptical about its potential but on screening it we were swept away by its sheer force,” says company co-chief Nicholas Brigaud-Robert.

The picture is produced by JCS Kazakhfilm n.a. Shaken Aimanov alongside German Rohfilm and post-production house Post Republic Halle.

Harmony Lessons was awarded the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund Prize earlier this month, becoming the first Kazakh picture to be supported by the body. The film also won the Sarajevo Film Festival’s work in progress award last year.

Other festival titles on Film Distribution’s EFM slate include Nanouk Leopold’s It’s All So Quiet, about a single farmer in his fifties living with his aged, bedridden father in the remote Dutch countryside, which screens in Panorama. Films Distribution handled Leopold’s previous features.

The company is also selling Olivier Meyrou’s documentary Parade about acrobat Fabrice Champion’s fight to get back on the trapeze after an accident that left him paralysed.

Documentary maker Meyrou is best known internationally for his 2005 work Beyond Hatred, about a family coming to terms with the violent killing of their homosexual son by three skinheads, which sold worldwide.

Films Distribution will also promo-reel a selection of its upcoming films including Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s semi-biographical A Castle in the Sky, Kurdish Hiner Saleem’s Aga and Eytan Fox’s Cupcakes.

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