Toronto: Film Movement Picks Up Wide’s ‘The Lesson’

Contemporary World Cinema player marks first feature from Bulgaria’s Kristina Grozeva and Peter Valchanov.

In its first finalized acquisition at this year’s Toronto Festival, New York-based Film Movement has picked up all North American rights to the Wide Management-sold “The Lesson,” the feature film debut of Bulgaria’s Kristina Grozeva and Peter Valchanov.

Billed by Film Movement as a “sharp tale of desperate acts in an age of austerity,” “Lesson” world premiered last Thursday in Toronto’s Contemporary World Cine program.

Set in a small Bulgarian town, “The Lesson” (“Urok”) turns on a honest, hard-working teacher, Nadezhda (Margita Gosheva), who is plagued by financial woes and driven to increasingly desperate measures to avoid the looming foreclosure on her house. She aslo suffers the emotional drain of an unemployed alcolholic husband and a thief among her students. .

“’The Lesson’ offers a tough, unsentimental examination of the morality bred by the economic pressures and bureaucracy so many people face in their live,” Film Movement said Tuesday.

Deal was finalized at Toronto by Film Movement co-president Adley Gartenstein and Anais Clanet and Emmanuelle Le Courtois at Paris-based Wide Management. Film Movement plans a 2015 release.

“Grozeva and Valchanov have crafted a riveting story about a woman’s attempts to overcome tremendous obstacles. We loved the strong character at the center of the film portrayed in an outstanding performance by Margita Gosheva,” said Gartenstein.

“We’re excited to bring the film to the U.S. following its premiere on the TIFF stage, and are pleased to once again be working with the team at Wide.”

“The Lesson” will segue from Toronto to a slot in New Directors, one of the San Sebastian’s Festival’s two major sidebars.

Buying first-run, award-winning independent and foreign films for theatrical, on-demand and home entertainment distribution in the U.S, Film Movement announced its acquisition of Jean-Pierre Ameris’ “Marie’s Story” in the run-up to Locarno. Sold by Indie Sales, it world premiered as a Piazza Grande screening at Locarno, winning Variety’s Piazza Grande Award.

Other recent Film Movement pick-ups: Dietrich Breuggemann’s “Stations of the Cross,” from Beta Cinema, a highly-stylized religious drama that won critical plaudits and a Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at 2014’s Berlin Festival; and from Continental Media, “God’s Slave,” a gripping Arab terrorist/Israeli secret agent face-off drama marking out Venezuelan director Joel Novoa as a talent to track.

Also on Film Movement’s books is Paolo Virzi’s Human Capital.” which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and garnered a Best Actress win for star Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and is one of Bac Films’ best-selling titles this year.

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