EXCLUSIVE: The Match Factory handles sales for Sergei Loznitsa’s Cannes competitor, set in the German-occupied western frontiers of the USSR in 1942.
Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily at last week’s goEast Festival for Central and Eastern European Film in Wiesbaden, Loznitsa revealed that Berlin-based distributor Neue Visionen will release his adaptation of Belorussian writer Vassily Bykov’s novel in Germany. ARP Sélection and Against Gravity, the French and Polish distributors of Loznitsa’s first feature film My Joy which premiered in the 2010 Cannes Competition, have pre-bought distribution rights for In The Fog for their respective territories.
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In addition, the film’s Russian co-producer GP Film Company will distribute in Russia and the CIS.
International sales are being handled by The Match Factory for the five-country co-production between Germany’s ma.ja.de fiction, Latvia’s Rija Films, The Netherlands’ Lemming Film and Russia’s GP Film Company.
Set on the German-occupied western frontiers of the USSR in 1942, the film’s action centres on a village railway worker Sushenya (played by a young Belorussian actor Vladimir Svirski in his film debut) who is wrongly accused of being a collaborator, and two partisans (played by two Russian actors Sergei Kolesov and Vlad Abashin) who arrive from the forest to get revenge. The cast also features Romanian actor Vlad Ivanov who starred in Cristian Mungiu’s Palme d’Or winning film Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days.
Loznitsa recalled that he had first read Bykov’s novel 11 years ago and “had the time to write a script. I wrote it very quickly because it provoked some childhood memories I’d had when one is accused of something and there isn’t any way of proving one’s innocence. I experienced this horror at an early age of about four or five.”
He approached his “regular” German producer Heino Deckert of Leipzig/Berlin-based ma.ja.de. with the completed script, but Deckert said that there wouldn’t be any way of finding financing for such a film about the Second World War. However, the situation changed after the success of My Joy in 2010. “Heino then said that he was sure that we would be able to find money for anything I wanted,” Loznitsa said.
“In spite of having nine nationalities and nine languages on the film’s set, there were no communications problems whatsoever,” creative producer Maria Baker noted. “People were able to communicate in either English or Russian.”
Loznitsa was reunited in many of the key positions by crew members who had worked with him on My Joy such as DoP Oleg Mutu (who also lensed Mungiu’s new film Beyond The Hills which is also screening in this year’s Cannes Competition), sound designer Vladimir Golovnitzky (How I Ended This Summer), editor Danielius Kokonauskis, production designer Kirill Shuvalov (The Hunter). “And there was also new people including one who was very important - my first AD from the Czech Republic Martin Sebik, who had previously worked with Alexander Sokurov and George Lucas - , the costume designer Dorota Roqueplo from Poland, and a fantastic make-up artist Tamara Frid from Russia,“ Loznitsa said in Wiesbaden where he had been honoured with a Portrait.
Meanwhile, the Russian film festival Vologda Independent Cinema from European Screens Festival (VOICES),has already confirmed that it will be showing In The Fog in its third edition running from July 6-12, .
My Joy had won the Grand Prix at VOICES in 2010 and Loznitsa had been a member of the festival’s International Jury last year when Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur was the winner. (ends)