First slate features 'Lies,' 'Portugal' 'Collector'

PARIS — Virginie Devesa and Keiko Funato have launched Alpha Violet, a Paris-based sales company that underscores the cosmopolitan reach of the Gallic sector.

One early Alpha Violet acquisition, “Off White Lies,” from Israel’s Maya Kenig, played in Competition last week at the Palm Springs Festival and screens in Berlinale’s Generation sidebar.

Backed by France’s Chamber of Commerce, Alpha Violet aims to work with new talent from emerging national cinemas, making international sales on movies that reflect the burgeoning breadth of arthouse production.

Alpha’s range reflects its founders’ backgrounds: Both worked at Hengameh Panahi’s Celluloid Dreams before joining U Media. Funato then worked for Japanese distributor Uplink while Devesa served as an audiovisual attache at the French Embassy in Moscow.

Arthouse comedy “Lies” is set at the outbreak of the second Lebanon war and follows a father and daughter posing as refugees to snag accommodation with a wealthy Jerusalem family.

Alpha Violet’s two other buys tackle social issues more directly. “Journey to Portugal,” from Portuguese docu filmmaker Sergio Trefaut, starring Maria de Madeiros, denounces prejudice and European airport border control procedures. Russian helmer Alexander Vartanov’s “Bullet Collector” is a low-budget, b&w coming-of-age tale that captures the violence of rebellious Moscow youth.

Kenig, Trefaut and Vartanov are first-time fiction directors.

“We want to partner with filmmakers from their beginnings and work on quality, daring films with issues we’d like to talk about,” Devesa told Variety.

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