EXCLUSIVE: Icelandic film to receive world premiere in Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

Jan Naszewski’s Warsaw-based sales outfit New Europe Film Sales has picked up Grímur Hákonarson’s film Rams (Hrútar).

The Icelandic title will be receive its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival (May 13-24), as part of the Un Certain Regard competition.

New Europe has already closed a first deal for the film, selling all French rights for Rams to distributor ARP Sélection.

Rams centres on two brothers from a remote Icelandic farming valley, who haven’t spoken in 40 years but reunite to save what’s dearest to them – their sheep.

Produced by Grímar Jónsson from Netop Film (Iceland), in coproduction with Jacob Jarek and Ditte Milsted’s Profile Pictures (Denmark) and in association with Film Farms (Norway) and Aeroplan Film (Poland), the film has been getting industry attention for some time after successful work in progress screenings in Les Arcs and the Nordic Film Market in Gothenburg.

Hákonarson’s short film, Slavek the Shit, previously screened in Cinéfondation. Rams’ director of photography, Sturla Brandth Grovlen, recently won a Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, for his work on Sebastian Schipper’s competition entry, Victoria.

New Europe will handle world sales and festivals outside of Iceland and Denmark. Deals in several countries are already in negotiation but Naszewski said closing the French deal heading into Cannes was a priority for the agent.

Michèle Halberstadt and Laurent Pétin from ARP Sélection described the film as “warm, funny, touching, heartbreaking, and exquisitely shot film”.

“The bare Icelandic landscapes, the sweet rams, and the two unpredictable brothers at the center of Rams are impossible to forget,” they added.