MADRID – The Match Factory, one of Europe’s top art film sales companies, has acquired world sales rights to scribe-helmer Anna Muylaert’s “The Second Mother,” selected for Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition.
World premiering at Salt Lake City, and the only Latin American title in the World Cinema competish, “Second Mother” is the fourth feature from Muylaert is a member of Brazilian’s maturing generation of liberal filmmakers – Cal Hamburger, Luiz Bolognesi and Lais Bodansky, all of whom work with Gullane, are others- who already have distinguished careers – her 2009 drama-thriller “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” won 31 prizes in Brazil – and are now breaking out internationally. Muylaert’s “The Second Mother” already proved the major standout at the Locarno Festival’s Carte Blanche, which screened a selection of recent Brazilian films in rough cut.
“The Second Mother” is also the latest production from Gullane Filmes whose recent credits include 2013 Venice Festival closer “Amazon,” Fernando Coimbra’s debut “A Wolf at the Door,” and Bolognesi’s Annecy Fest winner “Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury.”
Often hilarious, if Locarno audience reactions are anything to go by, the dramatic comedy of manners turns on Val, who left her daughter Jessica to be raised by relatives in the north of Brazil in order to go and work, like many of her generation, as a live-in nanny to a well-off family in Sao Paulo.
Becoming an effective second mother to the family’s indulged only son, her life is suddenly disrupted when Jessica arrives to take entrance exams for Sao Paulo U and confronts her mother’s slave-like attitudes.
Val’s family professes liberal concerns. But even they are discombobulated when Jessica passes the first round of exams for the university’s elite architectural school while their own son flunks out.
“Second Mother” bears similarities to some Sundance U.S. players in its comedic bent, toplining a star from outside comedy movies: Regina Casé, who plays Val, is a Globo TV host famed for discovering new talent among Brazil’s poorest of poor.
Like other world cinema standouts, such as Russian Ivan Tverdovsky’s “Corrections Class,” a Karlovy Vary and now Marrakech winner, “Second Mother” features a forthright teen that stands up to a more privileged older generation. It also addresses, without forcing the point, maybe the only answer to Brazil’s gross social equalities, behind much of the 2013 street protest movement: Equitable access to top-notch education.
Muylaert already co-wrote Cal Hamburger’s “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation,” which Films Distribution sold to 25 territories abroad.
At Locarno, announcing a 14-title-development slate, producer Fabiano Gullane at Gullane Filmes pointed to “The Second Mother” as a title which could achieve the status of what currently ranks at one of the Holy Grails for Latin American movie production: “Crossover projects” which can work in both Brazil and international markets.
“Moving forward with the great partnership and intense creative process built with Anna Muylaert and the actors during the production of ‘The Second Mother,’ we are now excited to begin a new stage for the movie, ‘The Second Mother,’” Gullane said.
He added: “We are very happy with the results achieved so far, especially with the recently announced selection in competition at 2015’s Sundance Film Festival and now that we have closed the international sales representation with The Match Factory, we have the perfect partner to make the film a worldwide success.”
The Match Factory pick-up also renews a relationship with Gullane which co-produced Miguel Gomes’ “Tabu,” a 2012 Berlin Alfred Bauer Award winner also repped by The Match Factory.
“After ‘Tabu’ by Miguel Gomes, I am delighted to work again with Gullane Filmes on the promising new feature of Anna Muylaert who is one of the most talented representatives of Brazilian cinema,” said Michael Weber, managing director of The Match Factory.