Roissy Films will handle international sales on Gjergj Xhuvani's second feature The Bleating Of The Sheep which began shooting on location in Albania on March 3.
The wartime story based on the real-life experiences of the director's grandfather will be distributed in France by Les Films de Tournelles and has been picked up by Pegasos for Germany.
Budgeted at under Euros 1m, the film is produced by Pascal Judelewicz of Les Films de Cinema with Dirk Beinhold's Berlin-based outfit Akkord Film and Arben Tasellari's Albanian General Vision, with backing from broadcasters NDR and arte, Filmfoerderung Hamburg, the Franco-German co-production 'mini treaty', and the Albanian government.
The screenplay which Xhuvani wrote with his father was named Best European Screenplay at the Sundance Film Festival last year and describes how Xhuvani's grandfather hid a partisan, an Italian soldier and a Jewish watchmaker in his cellar during the German occupation of Albania in 1943 and, at the same time, made friends with a German officer.
Xhuvani first came to international prominence with his feature debut Slogans which won the Director's Fortnight's Prix de la Jeunesse for Best Director at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival as well as prizes at the Cottbus and Tokyo film festivals. Slogans is the second most successful film of all time in Albania, after Ridley Scott's Gladiator.