San Sebastian: M-Appeal Strikes Deals Across Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

Sales co seals deals for Germany, U.K., France

SAN SEBASTIAN – Berlin-based M-Appeal, whose Israeli pick-up “Barash,” helmed by Michal Vinik, world preems Sunday in San Sebastian’s New Directors’ competition, has struck sales on two emblematic Latin American titles: “Holiday” (“Feriado”) from Ecuador’s Diego Araujo; and “How To Win Enemies,” directed by Argentine Gabriel Lichtmann.

Described by Variety’s Jay Weissberg as “a gentle coming-out story of modest ambitions and zero pretension,” Playing 40-plus festivals to date, “Holiday” has closed the U.K. with TLA Ent. Turning on a 16-year-old from a well-off family who falls for an indigenous boy as his family and country implodes, “Holiday” has also sold to France’s Optimale. Araujo’s debut was first seen at last year’s Berlin Generation 14plus.

Because of its LGBT subject, movie was initially slapped with an 18 certificate by Ecuadorian film classification board, a decision reflecting “the homophobic society we live in”, per Araujo. Decision was finally overturned in favor of a 15 certificate.

Germany’s Cine Global and Taiwan’s Deltamac have both bought “Enemies.” Bowing at Buenos Aires’ Bafici fest, before making its U.S. premiere at the 2015 AFI Latin American Film Festival, movie is an amateur sleuth caper in which a shy young lawyer takes home a beautiful girl to wake up the next day and discover she’s robbed him. A lover of detective novels, he suddenly has his own case to solve.

“Enemies” marks a sophomore outing for the director of 2005’s dysfunctional Jewish family comedy “Jews in Space.”

Added to M-Appeal’s sales slate for Cannes, “Barash” is a coming of age tale about a 17-year-old girl who falls in love with a new girl at her high school, – discovering a world of drugs, lesbians and sex – as her family life falls apart.

“Two of my short films, 2008’s “Bait” and “Reality Check” (2011), told the story of young women who explore their sexuality on the backdrop of the social and political fabric in Israel. “Barash” is a continuation of that same story, this time full length,” said Vinik.

He added: “The fluid identity, not yet stable, the confusion in the face of a complex reality, a point of view not yet formed into a worldview, all these interest me very much. “Barash” is a portrait of detachment, of detached youths from a detached family from a detached country. Its story is the destruction of old values against the rise of a youth that has yet to find itself.”

Produced by Israel’s Lama Films, and also written by Vinik, “Barash” won last year both a special mention at the Jerusalem International Film Lab in and a post-production prize at the Haifa Fest last year.

A further M-Appeal title, Carlos M. Quintela’s “The Project of the Century,” has its Spanish premiere at San Sebastian’s Horizontes Latunos showcase.

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