Berlin Film Festival: The Match Factory Represents Three Competition, Three Panorama Films (EXCLUSIVE)

Danis Tanovic’s 'Death in Sarajevo' is set in a hotel where tensions escalate during a staff strike

The Match Factory Represents Three Berlinale
Courtesy of The Match Factory

LONDON — World sales company The Match Factory will represent three films world premiering in Competition at next month’s 66th Berlin Film Festival, including Danis Tanovic’s “Death in Sarajevo,” and three pics premiering in the fest’s Panorama program. The company is at Sundance this week with two world premieres in the World Dramatic Competition: Felix Van Groeningen’s “Belgica” and Nicolette Krebitz’s “Wild.”

The Match Factory builds on its long relationship with Tanovic, whose “No Man’s Land” won the foreign-language film Oscar, with “Death in Sarajevo.” The film centers on the financially troubled Hotel Evropa, where age-old disputes resurface and tensions escalate when a staff strike threatens to upset an important gala dinner. From the hotel roof to the cellar club, via the reception, laundry room and kitchen, the micro-cosmos of Hotel Evropa is turned into an ideological pressure cooker. The film is a co-production between SCCA/pro.ba and Margo Cinema.

Another Berlin Competition world premiere for The Match Factory is “Letters from War” by Ivo M. Ferreira, which is the latest production of O Som E A Fúria. It is 1971, and António Lobos Antunes’ life is brutally interrupted when he is drafted into the Portuguese army to serve as a doctor in one the worst zones of the Colonia War — the East of Angola. Away from everything dear to him, he writes letters to his wife while he is immersed in an increasingly violent setting.

The Berlinale’s Competition will also screen “Soy Nero” by acclaimed Iranian director Rafi Pitts. Nineteen-year-old Nero, an illegal Mexican living in the U.S., joins the army as a “Green Card Soldier” to obtain a shortcut to citizenship. Lost in a maze, Nero fights to obtain a nationality and find his identity. The film is a Twenty Twenty Vision production in co-production with Senorita Films and Pimienta Films.

The Match Factory has sparked a relationship with celebrated director Doris Dörrie, whose film “Fukushima, Mon Amour” is in Panorama Special. The unlikely friendship between Marie, a lost German full of self-doubt, and the Japanese Satomi, Fukushima’s last remaining geisha, develops in this heartwarming drama, in which both women must come to terms with their own suffering. The film is an Olga Film production in co-production with Rolize, Constantin Film and ZDF in cooperation with ARTE.

Panorama will also screen Israeli filmmaker Udi Aloni’s “Junction 48,” a musical drama set in Arab ghetto Lyd and Tel Aviv. Palestinian rapper Kareem and his singer girlfriend Manar make music amidst violence and crime in Tel Aviv’s hip-hop club scene. It is a social drama with “truly powerful and vigorous music, which brings across beautifully the every-day struggle for Palestinian youth in modern-time Israel.” “Junction 48” is a co-production between Metro Communications, X-Filme Creative Pool, Blackbird and Dig The Movie.

Also in Panorama is “Remainder,” the first feature by video artist and director Omer Fast, which begins and ends in the same moment, like an incessant loop. What’s shown in-between is a slice of a young man’s life, who tries to understand himself after having lost his memory in an accident by obsessing about his fragmented past and eventually getting swallowed up by it. The film is a Tigerlily Films, Amusement Park and BFI co-production in association with Soda Film + Art and PHI Films.