“Fire at Sea,” shot on the Italian island of Lampedusa, centers on how the migrant crisis affects the local community. Rosi also won the Golden Lion in 2013 at the Venice Film Festival for his documentary “Sacro GRA.”
Kino Lorber plans a fall theatrical release.
“It’s a daring hybrid of captured footage and deliberate storytelling that allows us to consider what documentary can do,” Meryl Streep, president of the Berlinale jury this year, said of the film at last weekend’s awards ceremony. “It demands its place in front of our eyes and compels our engagement and action.”
The major personalities in “Fire at Sea” are a local doctor and a 12-year-old boy whose ordinary life — he would rather climb the rocks by the shore, play with his slingshot or mooch about the port than going to school — is set against the backdrop of men, women and children trying to make the crossing from Africa in boats that are far too small and decrepit.
“Gianfranco Rosi captured the hearts and minds of the Berlinale this year with what will become one of the essential films of our times,” Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber said. “We could not be more thrilled to bring this film to North American audiences later this year.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by Lorber and Daniela Elstner of Doc & Film International.