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Strand Releasing Nabs Sundance Prizewinner ‘Summer of Sangaile’ (EXCLUSIVE)

PARIS — L.A.-based distributor Strand Releasing has acquired all U.S. rights to Lithuanian helmer Alante Kavaite’s Sundance hit “The Summer of Sangaile.”

Repped by Films Distribution, Kavaite’s sophomore feature opened the World Cinema Dramatic competition and earned Kavaite the directing prize, before unspooling in competition at the Berlinale.

The coming-of-age romance tale turns on Sangaile (Julija Steponaityte), a 17-year-old fascinated by stunt planes who meets another girl, Auste (Aiste Dirziute), while attending a summer aeronautical show near her parents’ lakeside villa. As the two girls grow closer and fall in love, Sangaile allows Auste, a free-spirited and vibrant young woman, to discover her most intimate secret, and finds in her the only person who truly encourages her to fly.

Variety‘s Scott Foundas described the pic as a “heartfelt snapshot of summer love and self-discovery, enhanced by lots of breathtaking scenery and two hugely appealing lead performances.”

The deal was negotiated between Strand Releasing’s Jon Gerrans  and Nicolas Brigaud-Robert of Films Distribution. Strand Releasing is planning to release the movie in late summer.

“Strand Releasing is known to be a distributor with both competence and taste. Following the movie’s Sundance success we had several offers, but I feel the movie is in the right hands,” said Brigaud-Robert, co-founder of Films Distribution. Strand Releasing also recently picked up Abd Al Malik’s “May Allah Bless France” from the French sales company.

“This film captures a delicate coming-of-age tale, much like Lukas Moodysson’s classic, ‘Show Me Love,'” said Gerrans.

“The Summer of Sangaile” marks Paris-based Kavaite’s follow-up to mystery drama “Ecoute le Temps” (“Fissures”), which won the Gold Vision nod at Santa Barbara.

Topped by Gerrans and Marcus Hu, Strand Releasing has a strong lineup of foreign-language releases, including Fatih Akin’s “The Cut,” Eran Riklis’ “A Borrowed Identity,” Thomas Cailley’s Cesar-winning “Love at First Fight” and Eytan Fox’s “Cupcakes.”

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