EXCLUSIVE: Artscope, the specialist art film label of Paris-based Memento Films International, is handling international sales.

Nana Ekvtimshvili and Simon Gross’ Georgian coming-of-age tale In Bloom is proving something of a breakout title following its premiere in the Berlinale’s Forum.

Paris-based Memento Films International’s art film label Artscope has sealed deals on the title to the UK (Artificial Eye), Australia (Palace Films), Benelux (Imagine) and Visionary Thinking for the former Yugoslavia since the festival.

Revolving around the lives of two 14-year-old girls in Tbilisi in the summer of 1992 in the wake of the break up of the Soviet Union, the deeply personal film by Georgian writer and director Ekvtimshvili, who co-directed with Gross, prompted warm reviews in Berlin.  

Alongside the sales, the picture has also been invited to a slew of festivals including the Hong Kong International Film Festival next month where it will play in the Youth Cinema Competition.

“It’s an exquisite and deeply resonant piece of filmmaking,” commented Palace Films’ general manager Nicolas Whatson. “Along with the Golden Bear winner Child’s Pose, which we also acquired, our team felt it was the best thing we saw at this year’s Berlinale.”

“Palace specialises in quality world cinema and in the same way that Julie Bertuccelli’s Since Otar Left offered a glimpse into lives only rarely seen on film, In Bloom depicts a gripping and emotional story of young womanhood, clearly from a place of truth. The two lead performances are just outstanding,” he added.

In Bloom is a German-French-Georgian co-production between Marc Wachter and Gross’ Indizfilm, Guillaume de Seille’s Arizona Productions and Ekvtimshvili’s Polare Films.  

Founded in 2009, MFI’s art film label Artscope label specialises in new talents and alternative works with an artistic edge. As well as promoting its slate at festivals and on alternative distribution circuits, Artscope also holds international rights to its titles and handles sales.

‘The success of In Bloom has been a wonderful surprise,” commented Artscope chief Marion Klotz. “It’s also proof of how Artscope can give real visibility to films that are fragile in the market. It also shows that although the market is tough for these sorts of films, market players remain sensitive to artistic value and can fall for a film immediately.”

Other recent titles on the Artscope slate include Argentine Alejandro Fadel’s Los Salvajes (The Wild Ones), the tale of a bunch of teenagers who fend for themselves in the wild after they escape from a detention centre which premiered in Critics’ Week last year, and Uruguayan Rodrigo Pla’s The Delay (Demora) about an impoverished mother-of-three’s struggle to look after her octogenarian father.