Sergei Loznitsa’s new drama Donbass, reflecting on the bloody conflict in Eastern Ukraine, has secured a number of theatrical deals ahead of opening Un Certain Regard today (May 9).
Paris-based Pyramide International has sold the film to Greece (Ama Film), Turkey (Fabula Films), Germany (Salzgeber & Co), Ukraine (Arthouse Traffic), Poland (Against Gravity) and Benelux (Imagine Films). Sister company Pyramide Distribution will release the film in France.
The Ukrainian filmmaker returns to Cannes for a sixth time with Donbass, having previously premiered in Competition with A Gentle Creature, In The Fog and My Joy. Although Donbass is set in war-torn eastern Ukraine, a region that’s been ravaged on and off by conflict since the 19th century, Loznitsa says the film is not so much about a region or country but rather explores “a breakdown of humanity and civilisation in general”.
A pan-European co-production, Donbass is produced by Leipzig-based MaJaDe Fiction, Ukraine’s Arthouse Traffic, Paris-based JBA Production, Graniet Film and Wild At Art in the Netherlands and Romania’s Digital Cube.
It is among five Cannes titles on Pyramide International’s slate this year including The Harvesters, which also premieres in Un Certain Regard, as well as Directors’ Fortnight selections Amin and Los Silencios, and Sauvage, which debuts in Critics’ Week. It is also handling Le Grand Bal, which premieres as a Cinema de la Plage screening.
The Harvesters is the debut feature of Greek-South African director Etienne Kallos, exploring the issue of identity and sexuality within modern-day Afrikaner culture through the tale of a shy boy forced to welcome a tough street kid into his home.
The tale of a Senegalese man who gets involved with a French woman when he leaves his family behind to work in France, Amin is the latest film from French director Philippe Faucon after Fatima which triumphed at the 2016 Césars.
Los Silencios by Beatriz Seigner explores the legacy of the Colombian armed conflict through the tale of a mother and her two children who arrive on a small island in Amazonia en route to a new life in Brazil. One day the missing father of the family appears in their small house.
Camille Vidal-Naquet’s Sauvage revolves around the chaotic, dissolute life love of 22-year-old gay prostitute Leo, played by BPM (120 Beats Per Minute) cast member Félix Maritaud.
The Pyramide International slate also features a number of new films in post-production including David Roux’s Breath Of Life, starring Jérémie Renier as an intensive care medic whose ability to cope with the suffering he encounters on a daily basis is shaken when his mother is brought in close to death.
Other titles on the verge of completion include Turkish production Sibel, by Cagla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti, about a young, unmarried mute women who comes across a military deserter while working the fields around her remote village, and Lucas Bernaud’s light-hearted drama A Clever Crook, about a soon-to-retire detective’s quest to solve an elegantly executed art theft.
Projects in pre-production include Massoud Bakhshi’s Yalda, starring Leila Hatami as a woman facing the death penalty for murdering her much older husband; Cesar Diaz’s Guatemalan drama Uspantan, about a young man working for a foundation exhuming the bodies of people killed during the dictatorship; and A Sun That Never Sets by Olivier Laxe, who won the Critics’ Week Grand Prix in 2016 for Mimosas.