Mubi has acquired UK and Irish rights to Ben Sharrock’s Cannes 2020 selection Limbo, ahead of the film’s world premiere at Toronto later this month.
The company has picked up theatrical and streaming rights in the territory from Protagonist Pictures, handling world sales. Film4, which financed and developed the feature with Creative Scotland and the BFI, retains UK free TV broadcast rights.
Limbo is set on a fictional remote Scottish island where refugee arrivals await the result of their asylum claims. It centres on a young Syrian musician burdened by the weight of his grandfather’s oud (a stringed instrument), which he has carried from his homeland.
Amir El-Masry leads the cast, alongside Vikash Bhai, Ola Orebiyi, Kwabena Ansah, Sidse Babett Knudsen, and Kais Nashif. The film also features non-professional actors in small roles, including refugees who have made their home in Scotland, and locals from the Outer Hebrides where the film shot.
Irune Gurtubai produced the film for Caravan Cinema with Angus Lamont. Executive producers are Julia Oh and Daniel Battsek for Film4, Ross McKenzie for Screen Scotland, and David Segal-Hamilton and Lizzie Francke for the BFI.
“We’re thrilled to partner with MUBI and are excited for their bold theatrical release plans for this film,” said George Hamilton, head of sales at Protagonist. “They are a perfect partner for this exceptional film to reach all UK cinema goers with their unique audience reach.”
“We are thrilled to be able to work with Ben and Irune on bringing Limbo to UK and Irish audiences,” added Kevin Chan, senior acquisitions manager at Mubi. ”Right now in these increasingly fractured times we live in, we need to tell stories which find common ground in shared cultural experiences and Limbo in its own warm, witty way does exactly that.”
Scottish filmmaker Sharrock lived in Damascus in 2009 shortly before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, with the friends and stories from that time inspiring the film.
His debut feature Pikadero won the Michael Powell Award for best British feature film at Edinburgh Film Festival in 2016.
Following its TIFF launch, Limbo will have its European premiere at San Sebastian later this month.