LevelK has acquired international sales to Puk Grasten’s debut feature “37,” a drama centering around the real-life murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens starring Samira Wiley (“Orange Is the New Black”) and Michael Potts (“True Detective”).
The film also stars Adrian Martinez (“Focus”), Maria Dizzia (“Orange Is the New Black”), Jamie Harrold (“The Score”) and Thomas Kopache (“No Country for Old Men”).
“37” will be presented in the Nordic Light section at Goteborg, where Grasten has been selected along with 12 emerging Nordic filmmakers to participate in the Nordic Film Lab.
Aiming to bring up-and-coming talent onto the market, LevelK also acquired Grasten’s sophomore project “War, what if,” which is based on Janne Teller’s bestseller.
Set in March 1964, in Queens’ Kew Gardens neighborhood, “37” sheds light on members of three disparate families who witnessed the brutal murder of 28-year-old Kitty Genovese and did not intervene.
When the news broke that 37 people had seen Genovese getting stabbed to death without coming to the rescue, it sparked uproar and debates on the bystander effect and group think in the U.S. and beyond. Even 30 years later, when Bill Clinton, who was then president, visited Kew Gardens he made a heartfelt statement about the tragedy.
LevelK’s boss Tine Klint said “37” is “not a classic crime thriller but instead focuses on three neighbors’ families, looking into their day-to-day struggle.”
Klint also pointed out that “the movie has an universal and contemporary appeal as similar tragedies can happen everywhere today.” It also ponders “what makes people bystanders.”
“The murder became a warning signal in what was going on with the society. Indeed, it became an iconic event symbolizing our collective loss of innocence. In ’37,’ I question that notion and suggest in turn that the neighbors did not lose their innocence overnight. They had already lost it,” said Grasten.
The film is shot on location outside New York and is co-funded by New Danish Screen.
UIP will release “37” in Denmark. LevelK, which has offices in Copenhagen, New York and Hong Kong, will start selling the movie at Goteborg and Berlin’s EFM.