Tapping into a new and often more audience-friendly generation of directors and producers from Eastern Europe, Paris-based sales-production house Wide Management has made first major deal on Karlovy Vary player “Barbarians,” pre-selling Japan to Animoproduce.
Serbian Ivan Ikic’s first feature, “Barbarians” world premieres July 6 in competition at Karlovy Vary’s East of the West section.
Produced by Serbia’s Sense Production, Montenegro’s Or and Restart in Slovenia, “Barbarians” is set in 2008 in Mladenovac, a post-industrial sprawl on the outskirts of Belgrade where Luka, a disaffected paroled teen, head of a gang of young local soccer club supporters, explodes, breaking leg of the club top player, when he discovers that the father he fought dead in Kosovo is alive but hasn’t bothered to see him.
On the run, cold-shouldered by former friends, as protests build in Belgrade at Kosovo’s independence, Luka prepares to meet the father who also abandoned him many years before.
A portrait of a no-job, no-future generation, “Barbarians” bears comparison to 2013 Rotterdam Tiger winner “Clip,” helmed by fellow Serb Mila Milos, said Wide Management prexy Loic Magneron.
“Turning on a son who looks for his father, it’s a very strong, emotional film,” he added.
“There is an exciting brand new generation of directors and producers emerging in Eastern Europe, that are more audience-orientated, focus on the screenplay and have high production values, which it’s very important to follow, instancing two titles on Wide’s sales slate: “The Man in the Orange Jacket,” Latvian Aik Karapetian’s follow-up to “People Out There,” which played East of the West in 2012, and “Roseville,” by Bulgaria’s Martin Makariev.
“These new films maintain artistic quality but think about audiences,” Magneron added.
An auteur genre mix of arthouse, thriller and horror, per Magneron, “Jacket” will world premiere in the Camera Lucida competition at Montreal’s Fantasia Festival, one of North America’s preeminent genre meets, running July 17 – Aug. 4.
A paranormal/horror thriller that won best actor (Plamen Manassiev) and shared best actress (Lydia Indjova) at June 6’s Bulgarian Film Awards, “Roseville” “draws on the classic codes of genre films,” “Roseville” is inspired by a multiple homicide at an isolated mountain hut.
Wide Management is also building relationships with key production houses in Eastern Europe. “Jacket” is the latest film from Latvia’s Roberts Vinovskis at Locomotive Productions, the main co-producer on “The Gambler,” lead-produced by Lithuania’s Studio Uljana Kim and again sold by Wide Management.
A buzz title at San Sebastian’s New Directors section, where it world premiered, Ignas Jonynas’ first solo feature, about a paramedic who can’t kick the tables and begins to play a dangerous game with his patients’ lives, “The Gambler” has had a distinguished festival career, winning a Special Jury Award at 2013’s Warsaw Festival, sweeping Lithuania’s 2014 Silver Cranes, snagging six plaudits including picture, director and actor (Vytautas Kaniusonis), snagging screenplay and actor at Festroia and a Special Jury Award at 2014’s Europe Around Europe Festival.
Said Magneron: “In small countries, where there is not so much state support, filmmakers have to make films with strong screenplays. There are very interesting directors emerging.”
Wide Management and Poland’s Prasa & Film have also re-teamed, Wide repping world sales rights on Prasa’s “Summer Solstice,” now in post production.
Directed by Michal Rogalski, the 1943-set romantic drama delivering a Polish vision on World War II’s more human side through the loves of four characters: a Polish villager, a German soldier, a Jewish escapee, and the well-to-do daughter of a Polish farmer.
Wide already sold Jacek Borcuch’s 2009 punk-band themed “All That I Love,” a breakout sales hit for Prasa and Wide, which was also Poland’s Academy Award submission.
Wide Management is also pre-selling “Panama,” from first-time Serb director Pavle Vuckovic, another film by a young director about Eastern Europe’s young generation, and how social media, pornography and vanity can obstruct the true emotions of love.
Now shooting, it turns on a young man, Jovan, who dedicates his life to clubbing and casual sex until he meets Maja, a girl who posts home video clips on the Internet and place-marks on the Internet. One day he learns Maja has moved to Panama and he realizes, shocked, that what he had with Maja was love.
Produced by Belgrade’s Collapse Films, “’Panama’ depicts coming of age through a destructive love affair,” said director Vuckovic.
“It portrays the fear, pain and joy that appear when two lovers, who are spiritually, emotionally and physically bound – suppress their emotions.”
Emmanuelle de Courtois will attend Karlovy Vary for Wide Management; Patricia Mancini will rep titles at WideHouse documentary sales company.