MAR DEL PLATA – FiGa/Br, the Brazilian sales division of L.A.-based sales-distribution-production company FiGa Films, has clinched its first sales on Gabriel Mascaro’s “August Winds,” which world premiered at Locarno Fest and plays in International Competition at Argentina’s Mar del Plata.
In early trading, Ivan Granovsky’s Kommander Distribution has picked up Argentine rights, while Nitrato Filmes has closed for Portugal. Given “August Winds” Licorne d’Or best film win at France’s Amiens Fest last weekend, which comes with prize money for French distribution, France could well be the next territory to close, Figa Films partner Sandro Fiorin said at Mar del Plata, where he is a Work in Progress jury member.
Produced and co-written by Rachel Ellis at Recife-based Desvia Films, and set on Brazil’s North East coast, “August Winds” marks the narrative feature debut of Gabriel Moscaro, a distinguished documentary filmmaker best known for “Housemaids,” which played last year’s Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival.
Set in a small fishing village, “Winds” turns on a young couple, Shirley and Jeison, caught diving for lobsters, working at a coconut plantation, or having healthy sex in the coconut-filled back of Shirley’s tractor.
“August Winds” has large docu heft, a singular sense of place. But it builds into something much larger as the couple confronts forces beyond their control: Death, sea floods, the coast’s buffeting wind. This onset of remorselessness, large in its redolence, sets “August Winds” apart from straight-arrow doc record.
“The initial sales are pretty good, considering the kind of film it is: Challenging and hard to classify, which should be said for most of our films,” Fiorin told Variety.
He added: “All our titles end up selling quite well and it’s never a mad rush of business right of the bat. Like most of our films, it’s a slow burn business. We honestly prefer things this way: It gives us more time to find the right partners.”
“The real surprise is how much audiences enjoy ‘August Winds.’ The screenings at the AFI Fest were totally sold out, followed by long, fun Q & As. It’s a real joy seeing audiences from all over getting Mascaro’s style.”
Fest profile, audience reception and prizes are all crucial for FiGa films.
“August Winds” world premiered at August’s Locarno Fest in main competition, winning what Fiorin terms a “very important” special jury mention, given it faced off with films from revered directors such as Lav Diaz and Pedro Costa, both eventual winners.
Drama also won cinematography (for Mascaro) and actress in Brasilia, and best director and sound (both for Mascaro) in his hometown Recife’s Janela Internacional de Cinema, a prestigious meet with critic-turned helmer Kleber Mendonça Filho (“Neighboring Sounds”) serving as artistic director. Further plaudits: Best film at Amiens and a special jury award winner at Starz Denver IFF, both this last weekend.
Lauded by Variety’s Jay Weissberg as an “atmospheric, meditative drama” and rumination on the uncontrollable forces of time,” “August Winds” has effectively launched Mascaro’s career. His second feature, “Bull Down!”, with Ellis once more lead-producing, is in post.