Shahrbanoo Sadat’s debut feature, set in Afghanistan, will play in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.
Paris-based sales company Alpha Violet has boarded Shahrbanoo Sadat’s debut feature Wolf And Sheep, which is selected for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.
Sadat, who lives in Kabul and Denmark, based the story on the isolated village in Central Afghanistan where she grew up.
The plot follows young boys and girls acting as shepherds in rural Afghanistan, where one 11-year-old girl is an outsider. The folktales of the community add touches of magical realism.
The film is a Denmark-France-Sweden-Afghanistan production produced by Copenhagen-based Katja Adomeit of Adomeit Film, who was a co-producer on Force Majeure and also a former Screen International Future Leader.
Co-producers are La Fabrica Nocturna Productions (France), Wolf Pictures (Afghanistan) and Zentropa Sweden.
Sadat previously showed her 2011 short Vice Versa One at Directors’ Fortnight. She developed Wolf And Sheep at Cannes Cinefondation Residency in 2010.
Virginie Devesa of Alpha Violet said Wolf And Sheep “is a very audacious films…Shahr[sic] took many risks with this first film and we are very proud of her.”
Devesa said she and partner Keiko Funato were interested in the film “for many reasons: her native country, the magic realism of the tale, and the fact that Shahr wanted to get rid of cliches about Afghanistan while telling stories, tales or myths that people in the mountains carry on…We were astonished by the beauty and colors of the images and the originality that Shahr depicted.”
The film was shot using non-professional actors in Tajikistan because it was too dangerous for the crew to shoot in Afghanistan.
The film will have a buyers-only market screening on May 15, followed by official screenings May 16-18.
Alpha Violet is also selling A Yellow Bird by K. Rajagopal (Singapore/France) in Critics’ Week; the drama is about a Singaporean Indian man trying to reconnect with his estranged family after he is released from prison.
The company also reteams with The Tribe director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy for his new neo-noir film in development, Luxembourg. Other films on the slate include French love triangle story Marie And The Misfits by Sébastien Betbeder; Bauddhayan Mukherji’s The Violin Player, about a failed Bollywood session violinist; and Japanese debut feature A Double Life by Yoshiyuki Kishi, inspired by the works of Sophie Calle.