LONDON — Xavier Henry-Rashid’s London-based sales company Film Republic has acquired Adrian Saba’s second feature “El Sonador” (The Dreamer), which receives its world premiere at next month’s Berlin Film Festival. The stylish film, which plays as part of Berlin’s youth films section Generation 14plus, is a coming-of-age story set in Lima, Peru.
Film Republic also worked with Saba on his first feature, “El Limpiador” (The Cleaner), which premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival, and received a New Directors Award special mention. The film screened at more than 100 film festivals, and won the New Visions/New Voices award at Palm Springs Film Festival, the Fipresci Critics’ Award at the Transylvania Film Festival, and was Peru’s official entry for the foreign-language film Oscar in 2014.
“The Dreamer” centers on Sebastian, a young gang member who dreams of escaping his life of petty crime, and relies on his imagination to escape the shackles of his narrow existence. The quiet one, he often gets teased by the group. One day he accidentally injures his friend Jaen in a fight, and finds he no longer has a place to turn. Seeking tenderness with Jaen’s younger sister Emilia, who sits by her brother’s hospital bedside, he dreams and plans for their escape, but soon becomes unable to distinguish between reality and fiction, and must choose between his fantasy or the fate that has been written for him.
“The Dreamer” reunites the team that worked together on “The Cleaner,” including producer Carolina Denegri, cinematographer Cesar Fe and editor Justin Beach. They are joined by co-producer Pascaline Saillant from 25 Films in France, and film strategist Kathleen McInnis from See-Through Films, who headed “The Cleaner’s” Academy Awards campaign in 2014.
“The Dreamer” was developed at the Cinefondation Cannes Residence in Paris in 2013, and presented later in the year at the San Sebastian Latino co-production market, before participating in Cinelatino Cinema en Developement in Toulouse. It was in Toulouse where Saba also won the BrLAB in 2013 and got to continue the development of the project.
“The Dreamer,” which is supported by the DAFO Peruvian Film Fund, receives its world premiere on Feb. 16 at the Hau der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.