PARIS — Launched a year and a half ago, Stray Dogs is getting ready to hit fall festivals with four new pickups ranging from a French medieval western, “No God, No Masters,” to a stylish Canadian politically-engaged drama, “Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves.”
Set to world premiere at the second edition of Toronto’s competitive Platform section, Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie’s “Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves” (pictured above) is an epic, action-packed drama about a radical Quebec leftist cell seeking to turn Montreal upside down and overthrow the government.
Weaving documentary footage into the fiction and featuring an hypnotic soundtrack, the film is inspired by Quebec’s massive 2012 student rebellion against a proposed increase in tuition fees.
Nathan Fischer, Stray Dogs founder, described “Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves” as a “contemporary film that’s punk, thought-provoking and very cinematic.” Toronto film festival, meanwhile, said the film was reminiscent of Jean-Luc Godard’s “La Chinoise” which centers on a student Maoist cell in pre–May ’68 Paris.
Eric Cherriere’s “No God, No Masters,” which was pitched during Cannes Film Festival at the Cinefondation’s Atelier, is set in 12th century France and turns on the adventures of a mysterious Arabic fugitive on a mission to save a young maiden who has been abducted by a former Crusades hero.
Produced by Guillaume Tobo (“Departure”) and Franck Priot at Paris-based Connectic Studio, “No God, No Masters” will star “Salvo” actor Saleh Bakri in the lead role. The cast will also include Kickboxing world champion Jerome Le Banner.
“No God, No Masters” is one of the few French movies on our lineup — It’s both genre and arthouse, and it’s highly original which matches the kind of movies we’re looking for,” said Fischer, adding that the film was certainly Stray Dogs’s most commercial project so far.
Stray Dogs also picked up Karl Lemieux’s feature debut “Maudite Poutine,” an edgy Canadian crime drama which is premiering at Venice in the Orizzonti section, and “Park,” Sophia Exarchou’s portrait of today’s Greece, which will premiere at San Sebastian and will play at Toronto.
Developed at the Sundance Institute,”Park” is a lushly-lensed drama turning on a group of boys who live among the ruins of the Athens Olympic Village which was become near deserted place since the 2004 Games. The film follows the journey of one of the eldest of the group, a wild teenager who ventures outside of the Village with a retired athlete. The movie is led-produced Faliro House Productions, whose co-production credits include Yorgos Lanthimos’s “The Lobster.”
An atmospheric family crime drama, “Maudite Poutine” turns on a 27 year-old man who is being hunted down by gangsters after stealing some marijuana and is forced to reconnect with his estranged brother who lives in rural Canada.
“Maudite Poutine” is produced by Metafilms, the well-established outfit behind Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy,” “Félix et Meira” and “Vic + Flo ont vu un ours.”
Lemieux is the popular music video director of Hiss Tracts, Philip Jeck, and The Black Keys, among other bands. He also co-directed the critically-acclaimed experimental shorts “Quiet Zone” and “Passage.”
In the run up to Toronto, Stray Dogs has also acquired Bertrand Bonello’s experimental short, “Sarah Winchester, Opera Fantome,” which will play at San Sebastian and New York film festivals.
Fischer pointed out Stray Dogs was opening up to shorts in order to forge relationships with promising filmmakers early on and allow their works to reach the international scene.
The company’s slate comprises roughly 15 titles, with an average of three new acquisitions per market.