CANNES: Ukraine’s ‘The Tribe’ Kicks Off Strong Initial Sales for Alpha Violet

Cannes Critics’ Week winner in discussions for U.S deal

CANNES – Critics’ Week winner “The Tribe,” one of the films that really got critics talking at this year’s Cannes, has initiated its international sales roll-out for Paris-based Alpha Violet.

Set in a Kiev boarding school for deaf students, and made entirely in sign language, without subtitles for audiences, “The Tribe” has closed France (UFO Distribution), Japan (Mimosa Films), the Netherlands (Amstel Film) and Denmark (Ost For Paradis.)

Per Alpha Violet’s Virginie Devesa, the U.S., the U.K., and Hong Kong are now under negotiation.

The debut feature of Ukrainian scribe-helmer Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, “The Tribe” snagged the top Nespresso Grand Prize, plus the Revelation Prize, and a newly-launched French distribution grant from the Fondation Gan at last Thursday’s 53rd Cannes’ Critics’ Week awards.

Sales interest in “The Tribe” was also goosed by its critical reception. Writing in “The Guardian,” Jonathan Romney spoke of “The Tribe’s” juggling of “brute realism, dry comedy and a potent streak of eroticism.”

“It takes a film like the Ukrainian drama ‘The Tribe’to neatly encapsulate the festival’s real raison d’etre: To discover and celebrate the most exciting, daring and outstanding films made around the world,” Wendy Ide wrote in The Times, giving “The Tribe” five stars.

Also written by Slaboshpytskiy – who caught attention with 2012 short “Nuclear Waste” which won a Locarno Silver Leopard – “The Tribe” follows teenage Sergey (Grigory Fesenko), a new student at the school, who discovers it has a teen gang, The Tribe, which practices gangsterism and prostitution. Rising in its ranks, he falls for one of the girl prostitutes, Anya (Yana Novikova), breaking The Tribe’s rules.

“When we first watched the film, it was such as strong emotional ‘shock’ that we wanted to share these emotions and hoped for ‘The Tribe’ to be in Cannes,” said Devesa.

“The Tribe” used a cast of young deaf-mute non-pros. Shot by d.p.Valentyn Vasyanovych’s with composed Steadicam cinematography, it was produced by Arthouse Traffic, Ukraine’s leading arthouse distributor, and the Ukraine’s Garmata Film.

Two other Slaboshpytskiy shorts, “Deafness,” and “Diagnosis,” competed at Berlin.

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