EXCLUSIVE: French distribution company picks up world rights, excluding North America.

French distribution company Ad Vitam has snapped up world rights excluding North America on the film Difret by Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Berhane Mehari.

Produced by Mehret Mandefro and executive produced by Angelina Jolie, the film won the Audience Award in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition in Sundance and will premiere in the Panorama section of the Berlinale.

World sales will be handled by Films Distribution’s Berlin-based sister company Films Boutique.

Ad Vitam’s partner and head of acquisition, Gregory Gajos negotiated the deal with UTA’s independent Film Group. 

“We totally fell in love with Difret. The film is a very touching pic and reaches to speak about the important topic of women’s rights in Africa but always staying on the moving side focusing on its characters and their feelings,” Gregory Gajos told ScreenDaily.

Jean-Christophe Simon, Films Boutique’s CEO, added: “Reactions among buyers were very strong in Sundance and the Audience Award is a good sign.”

Based on a true story, the film tells the story of Meaza Ashenafi, a young lawyer who operates under the government’s radar helping women and children in Ethiopia until one young girl’s legal case exposes everything, threatening not only her career but her survival.

Ad Vitam expects to release the film in France by the end of the year.