Swooping on a black comedy which one Variety critic hailed as the discovery of this year’s South by Southwest Festival, Media Luna has acquired international sales rights to Joel Potrykus’ “Buzzard,” the final film in the U.S. director’s Grand Rapids-set animal trilogy.
In Karlovy Vary with main competition title “La Tirisia,” Media Luna made the announcement Wednesday morning at the Czech festival.
Having world premiered at SXSW — just before which Oscilloscope Laboratories raised “Buzzard’s” profile by picking up North American rights to the comedy — “Buzzard” will now play prominently at early August’s 67th Locarno Festival, where it competes in the Filmmakers of the Present section. Screening will be its international premiere. In 2012, Potrykus won best director at Locarno for his debut feature, “Ape.”
Talked up by Variety’s Justin Chang as “a hilarious, startling portrait of a sociopathic scam artist (played by Potrykus’ regular muse, Joshua Burge) who goes about sticking it to the Man in the most dishonest and ineffectual ways imaginable,” “Buzzard,” Potrykus’ sophomore feature, turns on knee-jerk bottom-feeder Marty, a temp at a bank’s mortgage office hell-bent on getting his own back on corporate America. (Among his cons: Closing his account at his own bank and immediately opening another one, to a branch manager’s amazement, in order to receive a $50 new-customer bonus).
Depositing customers’ checks into his own account, he flees in mounting paranoia, having discovered deposits are tracked, holing up at a nebbish co-worker’s basement, then flees to Detroit, where his paranoia and inchoate anti-system hostility threatens to get totally out of control.
Produced by Potrykus’ regular label Sob Noisse and inspired in part by personal experience – “I’ve done lousy temp work in the past: Such a dull workday in those generic cubicle mazes. I spent most of my time goofing around and pretending I was busy,” Potrykus said at SXSW – “Buzzard” begs the question as to what extent it reps a portrait of not just a sociopathic individual but a disaffected generation, trapped in arrested development and anarchically opposed to buckling under and accepting a slave-wage job for the rest of their days.
Potrykus’ animal trilogy kicked off with “Coyote,” a short.