Venice: Mongrel Intl. Swoops On Biennale College Film ‘The Fits’ By U.S. Director Anna Rose Holmer (EXCLUSIVE)

VENICE – Mongrel Intl., the acquisition unit of Canadian shingle Mongrel Media, has picked up worldwide sales rights to U.S. director Anna Rose Holmer’s first feature “The Fits,” about and 11-year-old African-American girl who is a tomboy and assimilates into a tight-knit dance team in Cincinnati’s West End.

Pic produced by Lisa Kjerulff was shepherded through the Venice fest’s Biennale College initiative which finances and mentors micro-budget works with potential to travel from development through distribution. “The Fits” world-preemed positively in Venice.

It features what is being hailed as a potent perf by Royalty Hightower who plays a girl named Toni who transitions from wanting to become a female boxer and sparring with her brother to training with the Lionesses, an all female troupe of young champion drill dancers. The other girls are then hit by a mysterious fainting spell.

Holmer previously co-directed and produced docu “A Ballet in Sneakers: Jerome Robbins and Opus Jazz.” She also produced director Jody LeeLipes’ “Ballet 422,” which screened at Tribeca earlier this year.

“The movie is a gorgeous celebration of the young body and of movement, as well as a haunting and mysterious evocation of that delicate moment in adolescent life when everything changes,” enthused Charlotte Mickie, president of Mongrel International.

“It spoke to me personally—I vividly remember that time when all was inchoate and wondrous. I am so proud to be associated with these filmmakers who have made this experience completely visceral for us on screen.”

The fits received Euros 150,000 ($167,000) from the Biennale College program, which is spawning movies that are definitely marketable. Earlier in the fest another Biennale College title “Blanka” was picked up for international sales, in this case by M-Appeal.

Titles from previous Biennale College crops include U.S. helmer Tim Sutton’s “Memphis” which segued from Venice to Sundance and has since been sold in some 30 territories, in some cases even for theatrical distribution.


Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Mickey Mouse waves to members of

    Spider-Man, Spicer and Splashy First-Looks: Everything We're Looking For at D23

    As if Disney hasn’t owned enough weekends this year at the box office, the biennial D23 Expo will light up Anaheim, Calif. over the next three days to celebrate the content monolith. From a new Netflix-competing streaming platform to scores of movie and series reveals — along with a few hot controversies to confront — [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    'Angel Has Fallen' to Dominate Modest Box Office With $20 Million Weekend

    Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman are leading the way at the North American box office with “Angel Has Fallen” on its way to about $20 million, early estimates showed Friday. Should forecasts hold, “Angel Has Fallen” will take in about double the next title, Universal’s second weekend of raunchy comedy “Good Boys” with about $10 [...]

  • Aracne

    Sanfic Standout ‘Aracne’ Filmmakers Discuss the State of Chilean Genre

    A key project at this year’s Santiago Lab, the Santiago Intl. Film Festival industry forum for promising Latin American projects, Florencia Dupont’s “Aracne” is representative of a push from the next generation of Chilean filmmakers into genre cinema and the themes it can explore. “Aracne” turns on Beatriz, a young journalist at a small Santiago [...]

  • Eduardo Machuca

    Chile’s Eduardo Machuca Unveils Machuca Films Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    SANTIAGO, Chile – Eduardo Machuca, the former film co-ordinator of Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has launched his own production company, Machuca Films. “After 25 years at the ministry, I felt I needed to tap my creative side,” said Machuca, who is also tying the knot on Saturday (Aug. 24) with a former Sanfic staffer, [...]

  • Robert Downey Jr. Disney Legends Ceremony,

    Robert Downey Jr. Reveals He Was Busted for Smoking Pot at Disneyland

    Robert Downey Jr. celebrated his Disney Legend status by sharing the endearing tale of how the first time he visited Disneyland, he was arrested. The Iron Man actor was being honored in Anaheim at Disney’s biennial D23 convention. After a brief introduction by Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger, Downey felt he had to come [...]

  • Thandie Newton Reminiscence

    Thandie Newton Reteams With 'Westworld's' Lisa Joy on 'Reminiscence' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following her Emmy win for her performance on “Westworld,” Thandie Newton is joining the feature directorial debut of the show’s co-creator. Sources tell Variety that Newton is set to join Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson in Warner Bros.’ “Reminiscence,” directed by “Westworld’s” Lisa Joy. WB acquired the rights to the package after this year’s Berlin [...]

  • Ming-Na Wen poses at the Disney

    Original 'Mulan' Star Ming-Na Wen Weighs in on Remake's Controversy

    Ming-Na Wen, who played the leading voice role in the original 1998 version of “Mulan,” has spoken out about the recent controversy surrounding Disney’s forthcoming live-action remake, which has been co-opted by China’s authoritarian regime to attack Hong Kong protestors. “We are living in a world right now where there’s so much change and confusion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content