Vincent Wang’s Paris-based banner House on Fire, which has Alireza Khatami’s debut feature “Oblivion Verses” playing at Venice in the Orizzonti section, has come on board “Under the Sun” by Chinese filmmaker Qiu Yang, as well as Zhang Tao’s “Family Tree” and Gabriel Mascaro’s “Overgod.”
Satire “Family Tree” marks Tao’s sophomore film following “Last Laugh,” which played in Cannes’ Acid section this year. The film centers on a desperate mother using many remedies to make sure sure her eldest son and his wife produce a male heir, while her other son is in love with his 25-year-old distant aunt.
Set to shoot next spring in China, “Family Tree” is co-produced by Chinese banners Butong Pictures and Tender Madness.
“Under the Sun,” meanwhile, expands on the plot and characters of Yang’s 2015 student short by the same name that had played at Cannes’ Cinefondation, AFI Fest and Slamdance. Yang’s 2017 short “A Gentle Night” won Cannes’ Palme d’or.
“Under the Sun” follows a young boy who is accused of injuring an old woman in a bus station. Since there is no witness, the boy denies the accusation, calling it blackmail. But a local reporter then gets involved and starts investigating both families to hear their side of stories. The dispute between the families sparks a chain reaction that leads both clans onto a downward path and ultimately take the reporter further away from the truth.
“Under the Sun” explores how century-old traditional Chinese values can affect ordinary people and the moral corruption which exists in contemporary Chinese society, said Wang.
“Under the Sun” will start shooting in the winter of 2018. It is being co-developed and co-produced by Chinese companies Colorful Age, Culture & Media and Wang’s Taiwan-based banner House on Fire Intl.
Mascar’s “Overgod” was pitched at last year’s co-production forum at Berlin. Julio Machado has just joined the cast of the film and will star opposite Dira Paes.
Mascaro’s “Neon Bull” won the Special Jury Prize at Venice in 2015.
Written by Mascaro, Rachel Daisy Ellis and Esdras Bezerra, “Overgod” takes place in a near-future Brazil, and follows the journey of Morgana, a devout evangelical Christian who spreads the word of God by inviting struggling couples to a gospel swingers club. When she discovers that she is pregnant, Morgana suspects that the baby she is carrying is the new messiah.
Brazilian outfit Desvia is producing the film, along with House on Fire, Denmark’s Snowglobe, Uruguay’s Malbicho Cine, Norway’s Mer Film and Mexico’s Buenaventura.