Athens-based sales agent Heretic Outreach has picked up Ivan Ikić’s love-triangle drama The Users (working title) and will begin discussions at the virtual Cannes market.
It marks the second feature from Serbian director Ikić and was developed through the Cannes-backed Cinéfondation Residence.
Set in an institution for youngsters with special needs, it features two young women in the facility who both fall for a withdrawn young man. The film was shot in an actual institution and the cast comprises real residents, acting in front of the camera for the first time. The central love triangle is played by Marijana Novakov as Marija, Tijana Markovic as Dragana and Valentino Zenuni as Robert.
Producers are Milan Stojanović and Marija Stojanović of Belgrade-based Sense Production, the outfit behind Ikić’s debut feature Barbarians, which debuted at Karlovy Vary in 2014. Co-producers are Tramal Films (Slovenia), Kepler Film (Netherlands), Les Films d’ Antoine (France) and SCCA/Pro.ba (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
It was announced this week that The Users will be showcased in the First Cut+ strand of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s industry platform, which is taking place online for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
First Cut+ is an EU MEDIA Programme-backed initiative for “boosting the competitiveness and marketability” of feature films that previously participated in the festival’s First Cut Lab.
Ioanna Stais, head of sales and acquisitions at Heretic Outreach, said: “When I first watched [The Users], I knew we had something very special in our hands. We were particularly touched and impressed by the representation of life in an institution for people with special needs.
“Working on the film challenged our own perception of the world, and our love and appreciation for it grew stronger when we realised the magnitude of the filmmaking process.”
During the Marché du Film Online, Heretic is also handling Sundays, Alethea Avramis’ feature documentary about her father Tom Avramis, a Greek Orthodox priest in the US who decides to leave the priesthood after 30 years.
Other titles on the company’s slate include Siamak Etemadi’s debut feature Pari, Paloma Sermon-Daï’s documentary Petit Samedi, and Janis Rafa’s Kala Azar, which won the KNF Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) earlier this year.