Brie Larson

SXSW hit receives standing ovation at Locarno

LOCARNO — Paris-based sales company Memento Films International has added new buyers in its step-by-step but buoyant sales roll out of Destin Daniel Cretton’s South by Southwest Fest wow, “Short Term 12.”

Playing in international competition at Locarno, “Short Term 12” received a standing ovation at its first public screening at the Swiss fest on Sunday

World premiering in March at Austin’s SXSW, where it won the grand jury prize in the narrative feature competition and the audience award, “Short Term 12” was screened by MFI at Cannes’ Market.

Foreign distributors mainly focus at Cannes on the major section titles. That said, “Short Term 12” has run up an impressive number of deals from Cannes through to Locarno.

Closing the biggest new major territory, Japan’s The Pictures Department, in association with Dongyu, has tied up rights to Japan.

Further deals take in Turkey’s Kurmaca Film, Austria’s Thinfilm. Film Freak for Benelux, Angel Films in Denmark, and Portugal’s Vendetta Filmes.

Rolling out in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong’s Golden Scene Co. and Taiwan’s Maison Motion have also closed on “Short Term 12.”

The U.K.’s Verve Pics, Australia’s Madman Ent. and Israel’s Lev Films have also picked up “Short Term 12,” in announced deals.

“So far, very few buyers have actually seen the film with an audience but buyers do sense. I think, the audience friendly quality of the film, the reviews and the number of audience awards the film has won so far perhaps helping them to sense this,” Nicholas Kaiser, Memento Films sales and acquisitions exec, commented at Locarno.

He added: “I’m sure the film’s international premiere here will prove them right as has been seen in the audience reaction here in Locarno.”

“Short Term 12” was well received by Locarno press at a Saturday screening.

Cretton’s second fiction feature, after “I Am Not a Hipster,” about a depressed San Diego indie rock-scene singer-composer, “Short Term” stars Brie Larson (“Don Jon’s Addiction,” “21 Jump Street”) as a supervisor in a foster facility for damaged adolescents who is herself damaged by her past. John Gallagher Jr. limns her co-worker and boyfriend.

Though “100% fiction,” “Short Term 12” “was inspired by my experience at a similar place to that in the film, my first job out of college, “ Cretton said at the Locarno press conference.

“It was an extremely life-changing period where I was first introduced to the complications of the world. A country is only as good as the way it treats its smallest citizens,” he added, saying the movie was “a small way to say thank you to people who chose to work” in foster facilities.

Being in Locarno, “discovering ‘Short Term 12’ deals in a subject which relates to many different types of people around the world, is very life-affirming,” Larson said.

Cinedigm releases “Short Term 12” in the U.S. on Aug. 23.

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