Rezo Takes Sides With ‘Traitors’ at Venice Film Festival

Morocco-based Sean Gullette’s directorial debut also unspools in Toronto

Snapping up one of the highest-profile titles in Venice Days, Paris-based Rezo has inked world sales rights on thriller “Traitors,” the feature directorial debut of multi-hyphenate Sean Gullette.

Gullette starred in and co-wrote “Pi” with its helmer, Darren Aronofsky.

Traitors” will also screen at Toronto. Set in Tangier, where Gullette relocated in 2005, “Traitors” forms part of his larger project to tap into and channel the talents and energy of a young generation of Moroccans through film.

“Traitors” centers around Malika, the leader of an all-femme punk band who smuggles drugs on the side.

Malika is played by Chaimae Ben Acha, who won best actress honors at February’s Morocco National Film Festival for her perf in “Malak.”

“Malika’s my kind of girl,” Gullette said. “When fearless young people like her confront the established logic of the ‘adult’ world, they can change their own destinies and their environments.”

A U.S.-Morocco co-prod between Gullette’s White Light, White Heat and Karim Debbagh’s Kasbah Films, and financed by the Sharjah Art Foundation, “Traitors” first saw life as a short.

“At the 2011 New York Film Festival, my friend Darren Aronofsky said it felt like a fragment of something larger,” Gullette recalled.

“The short film’s inventing an all-girl punk band in Tangier was almost science fiction.”

He added: “The rap and rock music scenes are dynamic. The political landscape is changing fast. It’s an exciting time to be young in this country.”

“I was totally engaged with the movie: It’s full of energy, fresh, uplifting,”Rezo’s Sebastien Chesneau said.

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