m-appeal has taken on international sales for Isaki Lacuesta’s San Sebastian Golden Shell winner The Double Steps (Los Pasos Dobles) and German filmmaker Veit Helmer’s romantic comedy Baikonur, which will both have their international premieres in Busan tonight.
m-appeal’s managing director Maren Kroymann told ScreenDaily that she had acquired Lacuesta’s film about the search in Mali for the treasures of the French artist and author Francois Auguérias before the Spanish-Swiss co-production received the award for Best Film in San Sebastian.
The Berlin-based sales agent is also handling Lacuesta’s The Clay Diaries (El Cuaderno de Barro), a documentary conceived by the director with the Catalan artist Miguel Barceló, one of the leads in The Double Steps.
Moreover, Kroymann has just signed to distribute Baikonur which was released by X Verleih in Germany at the beginning of September and will now be making its first international outing in Busan.
Produced by Helmer’s own company with the Russian outfits Tandem Productions and CTB Film Production and Kazakhstan’s Eurasia Film, the love story written by Sergei Ashkenazy centres on the French space tourist Julie (played by top model Marie de Villepin), who lands in the steppes of Kazakhstan after her return from orbit, and the local villager Iskander (newcomer Alexander Asochakov in his first film role), who finds her in the stranded capsule and takes her back to his jurta. Since she has lost her memory, she thinks she is his wife, and all kinds of misunderstandings arise
Helmer, who will be in Busan with his main actors to present the film to Korean audiences, was particularly proud of the fact that he was the first filmmaker ever to be allowed to shoot a feature film at the Baikonur space station.
“Although the shooting permit from the Russian space authority Roskosmos had been given early on, we only received the final permission to shoot there after checks by the secret service just 14 days beforehand,“ Helmer told ScreenDaily.
M-appeal’s other recent additions to its sales lineup include its first US title, Mark Jackson’s Without, which had its world premiere at Slamdance, was first shown internationally at Locarno in August and will now be screened at festivals in Vancouver, London, Ghent and Chicago; Chilean filmmaker José Luis Torres Leiva’s Verano which premiered in Venice’s Orizzonti sidebar this year; and Hong Kong-based Simon Chung’s third feature film Speechless following Innocent (2005) and End Of Love (2009).