Both movies March fest standouts
In the long build-up to Cannes and the summer/fall festival season, Berlin-based Films Boutique has picked up world rights to Rodrigo Sepulveda’s “Aurora,” Chile’s latest serial prize-winner, and “Two Step,” the acclaimed Texas-set debut of scribe-helmer Alex R. Johnson.
The deals are recommendations in themselves: Films Boutique only acquires seven-to-ten titles every year. Some – “Walesa, Man of Hope,” Mexico’s 2013 Cannes Un Certain Talent winner “La jaula de oro” – go on to large sales success.
Both, too, are already high-profile titles, “Aurora” even before completion. Produced by Florencia Larrea (“Illiterate”) and executive-produced by Josefina Undurraga and Gregorio Gonzalez at Forastero (“The Maid”), “Aurora” was a buzz title, primarily for lead Amparo Noguera’s performance, even before competing at the Miami Festival’s Encuentros Latin American pix-in-post showcase in March, which is curated by Toronto Fest programmer Diana Sanchez.
“Aurora” won Encuentros, garnering a $35,000 pre-sales contract for Latin America from the Fox International Channels Moviecity. Two weeks later, it scooped both the Toulouse Films in Progress Prize and the Cine Plus Special Prize at the Toulouse Cinelatino Rencontres in Southern France.
Sepulveda’s third feature after “A Thief and His Wife” and “Padre Nuestro,” “Aurora” stars Noguera as a woman who finds a dead baby in a landfill. She seeks to adopt it, to give it a burial.
“’Aurora’ is one of those few films that makes you cry but also makes you believe in love and empathy. The struggle of this woman for the dignity of the baby and the acting of Amparo Noguera make the film very special, moving and unique,” declared Films Boutique CEO Jean-Christophe Simon.
The film is expected to have its world premiere at one of the summer/fall festivals, he added.
“Two Step” world premiered at SXSW, also in March, to upbeat reactions. “This well-acted character-driven thriller marinates in Austin atmosphere and delivers unconventional thrills,” Variety wrote, summarizing a review that suggested a cult following could be in the offing.
In “Two Step,” after the death of his grandmother, college student James inherits her house and discovers she’s been the victim of the “grandparent scam” in which someone posing as James has been slowly bilking her out of thousands. But before James can go looking for the culprit, he shows up at the front door, desperate for money.
“Two Step’ is an unconventional thriller focusing on an amazing gallery of characters and on dialogues to build up its suspense,” said Simon.
“The Texas atmosphere gives the film a special touch thus turning it into a very original and powerful film.”