×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Berlin: Memento Films Intl. Rolls Out Sales on ‘The Propaganda Game’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Major territories deals clinched on Alvaro Longoria’s vision of North Korea’s – and the West’s –propaganda war

BERLIN – Sold by Paris-based Memento Films Intl., Alvaro Longoria’s “The Propaganda Game” has closed a clutch of major markets, joining the select numbers of movies which, though not major independent Hollywood fare with a A-list star attached, have still broken out to sales at this week’s Berlinale European Film Market.

Given the “huge shift on arthouse/indie movies, to sell finished movies, not pre-sell,” as Constantin’s Martin Moszkowicz observed at this year’s Berlin Festival, that is a notable achievement for a film still in post, and a docu-feature at that.

Kick-starting a first round of pre-sales, “The Propaganda Game” has closed Germany (Polyband), the U.K. (Metrodome) and Australia (eOne), as well as Switzerland (Praesens Film), Taiwan (Encore Film), ex-Yugoslavia (MCF Megacom) and Bulgaria (BNT). Spanish theatrical distribution and TV sales are under negotiation, Longoria said.

UTA and MFI co-represent North American rights to “The Propaganda Game.”

Displaying the same sympathy for victims of a geo-political face-off which informed his Goya-winning debut, the Javier Bardem-produced “Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony” – and drawing on his experience as the producer at Spain’s Morena Films of Oliver Stone’s “Comandante” and “Looking For Fidel,” a Fidel Castro docu diptych, and as exec producer on Stone’s “Persona Non Grata,” “The Propaganda Game” has Longoria penetrating the world’s last iron curtain.

In North Korea, he gains privileged access to the official pageants and daily lives of citizens in North Korea – “too good to be true,” Longoria commented – gained via a key facilitator, Spaniard Alejandro Cao de Benos, the only foreigner working for the North Korean government, He is allowed to shoot whatever he wants – though he has to follow a carefully prescribed route around the country.

“The Propaganda” does not take all Western reports about North Korea at their face value. One example: The claims made by Britain’s Daily Mail’s and NBC News (which should have known better) that ruler Kim Jong-un’s uncle was executed by being eaten alive by 120 hungry dogs. The report was a mistaken rehash of a spoof satirical news item by a Chinese blogger. Another example: That an uber- icon of Western capitalism, The Coca Cola Company, is banned from North Korea (see picture to debunk that myth).

Longoria intersperses docu footage with interviews where true specialists on North Korea –Barbara Demick, former Seoul Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times, or Andrei Lankov, author of “The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia” – provide far more tempered analysis.

“Once we managed to get access into North Korea, we tried to dig deeper and get beyond the grotesque and the clichés and analyze who are the winners and the losers of this propaganda war that surrounds The Hermit Kingdom,” Longoria told Variety.

He added: “Our goal is not to discover the absolute truth about North Korea, but to make the audience see a reality full of half-truths and many lies, allowing them to reach their own conclusion: We are all victims of propaganda.”

More Film

  • Viacom Networks

    Federico Cuervo to Head New Management Structure at Viacom International Studios

    Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) –Americas has announced a new management structure for its fast-expanding Viacom International Studios (VIS) which will see Federico Cuervo filling the role of senior vice president-head of VIS, reporting to Darío Turovelzky, newly named SVP of global contents at VIMN Americas. Turovelzky remains co-chief of VIMN. Under the new structure, [...]

  • Berlin: Edko Films Picks up Zhang

    Berlin: Edko Films Picks up Zhang Yimou’s ‘One Second’

    Hong Kong studio Edko Films has picked up international rights to “One Second,” the newest movie by top Chinese director Zhang Yimou. The film will have its world premiere in competition in Berlin, it was announced this week. “One Second” is pitched as Zhang’s personal love letter to cinema, and as a return to his [...]

  • Sygeplejeskolen sc 205

    Claudia Boderke, Lars Mering Talk SF Studios ‘The New Nurses,’

    The inevitable comparison for SF Studios’ “The New Nurses,” at least from a Danish broadcast perspective, is “Something’s Rockin,’” another 2018 TV 2 Charlie show which was retro but forward-looking. “Something’s Rockin’” described the birth of an independent radio with culture in Denmark. Produced by SF Studios’ Senia Dremstrup (“Norskov”),  “The New Nurses” talks cleverly [...]

  • Robert Redford

    Robert Redford to Receive Honorary Cesar Award

    Legendary American actor and director Robert Redford is set to receive an honorary Cesar award, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, at the 44th annual César ceremony, which will take place on Feb. 22 in Paris. “An iconic actor, an exceptional director, a passionate producer, founder and president of Sundance, the most revered festival of independent [...]

  • Goteborg: Co-writer Hakan Lindhe on Viaplay’s

    Co-Writer Hakan Lindhe on Politics, Image in Viaplay’s ‘The Inner Circle’

    David Ehrling, Sweden’s Minister for Enterprise, who is tipped to be its next Prime Minister, spends a lot of the time in Sweden’s “The Inner Circle” not preparing his speeches, or in impassioned discussion of key political issues, but staring into the mirror, rain checking on his strong-jawed image. He spends much of his enterprise, [...]

  • 'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit On His

    'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit on his Socially-Minded Smash

    PARIS —  Far from a dumping ground, the months of January and February have become synonymous in France with the kinds of highly polished crowd-pleasing comedies that dominate the annual box-office. This year is no exception, only nestled among the likely blockbusters “Serial Bad Weddings 2” and “City Hunter” is Louis-Julien Petit’s socially minded dramedy [...]

  • "The Continent," directed by Chinese racer

    Alibaba Pictures Buys Into Chinese Director Han Han's Film Studio

    Alibaba Pictures confirmed that it has invested an undisclosed amount in Chinese celebrity blogger-turned-film director Han Han’s Shanghai Tingdong Film. Han’s upcoming “Pegasus” is one of the most anticipated films of the year in China. Alibaba Pictures, part of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is now the second-largest stakeholder in Tingdong. It has a 13.1% stake, according to Chinese [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content