Camel caper finds oasis at Milestone

Distrib buys North American rights to Stuhr's 'Animal'

Milestone Film & Video has acquired North American rights to Polish actor-director Jerzy Stuhr’s absurdist fable “The Big Animal,” which is based on an unfinished screenplay by the late Krzysztof Kieslowski.

A longterm friend of Kieslowski who appeared in a number of his films, Stuhr stars as a small-town bank clerk who discovers a camel in his front yard. He and his wife grow increasingly fond of the animal, which sparks reactions of greed and intolerance from the narrow-minded community.

“This funny and humane film shows another side of Kieslowski’s enormous talent,” said Milestone VP Dennis Doros. The rediscovered script was written in 1973 during the height of political oppression and social upheaval in Communist-era Poland. Stuhr saw the project as an ideal vehicle to pay tribute to Kieslowski, who died in 1996 and who directed the actor in his breakthrough film “The Scar.”

Stuhr appeared in a number of other films for Kieslowski, including the 10th episode of “The Decalogue” and “White,” the central chapter of the “Three Colors” trilogy.

“The Big Animal” was shot in black and white by Pawel Edelman, an Oscar nominee for his work on the Roman Polanski-helmed “The Pianist.”

Milestone director of acquisitions Cindi Rowell negotiated the deal with Malgorzata Cup, head of sales for Telewizja Polska, and its U.S. rep, Christopher Wojciechowski of CW Entertainment.

Milestone will release the film in 2004 at New York’s Anthology Film Archive.

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