VENICE – Mongrel Intl., the acquisition unit of Canadian shingle Mongrel Media, has picked up worldwide sales rights to U.S. director Anna Rose Holmer’s first feature “The Fits,” about and 11-year-old African-American girl who is a tomboy and assimilates into a tight-knit dance team in Cincinnati’s West End.
Pic produced by Lisa Kjerulff was shepherded through the Venice fest’s Biennale College initiative which finances and mentors micro-budget works with potential to travel from development through distribution. “The Fits” world-preemed positively in Venice.
It features what is being hailed as a potent perf by Royalty Hightower who plays a girl named Toni who transitions from wanting to become a female boxer and sparring with her brother to training with the Lionesses, an all female troupe of young champion drill dancers. The other girls are then hit by a mysterious fainting spell.
Holmer previously co-directed and produced docu “A Ballet in Sneakers: Jerome Robbins and Opus Jazz.” She also produced director Jody LeeLipes’ “Ballet 422,” which screened at Tribeca earlier this year.
“The movie is a gorgeous celebration of the young body and of movement, as well as a haunting and mysterious evocation of that delicate moment in adolescent life when everything changes,” enthused Charlotte Mickie, president of Mongrel International.
“It spoke to me personally—I vividly remember that time when all was inchoate and wondrous. I am so proud to be associated with these filmmakers who have made this experience completely visceral for us on screen.”
The fits received Euros 150,000 ($167,000) from the Biennale College program, which is spawning movies that are definitely marketable. Earlier in the fest another Biennale College title “Blanka” was picked up for international sales, in this case by M-Appeal.
Titles from previous Biennale College crops include U.S. helmer Tim Sutton’s “Memphis” which segued from Venice to Sundance and has since been sold in some 30 territories, in some cases even for theatrical distribution.