Paris-based Luxbox has rolled out robust early international sales on New York-born Jonas Carpignano’s “A Ciambra,” a 2017 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight winner which also marks the first fruit of the Emerging Film Fund, a joint initiative between Martin Scorsese and Sikelia producer partner Emma Koskoff and Rodrigo Teixeira’s Brazil-based RT Features.
Picked up at the Cannes Festival by IFC’s Sundance Selects for North America, in a deal negotiated by WME on behalf of the filmmakers, “A Ciambra” will now play Horizons at the Karlovy Vary Festival, which kicks off June 29. It won the prestigious Europa Cinemas Label Award for best European film at this year’s Directors’ Fortnight.
The international sales on “A Ciambra,” put through by Luxbox, will only enhance Carpignano’s reputation as a young filmmaker with a voice – as a kind of modern-day Italian neo-realist – and a burgeoning industry audience, which includes high-caliber backers along the whole industry value chain from development at the Torino Film Lab through now to distribution.
Picking up on a secondary but charismatic character in writer-director Carpignano’s debut, “Mediterraneo,” the now 14-year-old hustler Pio who is desperate to prove his street smarts to older brother Cosimo and come of age as one of the men in his family and the local crime organization, “A Ciambra” has closed Italy (Academy Two) – a crucial deal given the italian setting of the movie – and the U.K. (Peccadillo). Among co-producers, prestigious French producer-distributor Haut et Court will distribute “A Ciambra” in France, DCM Pictures in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Luxbox has also licensed Brazil (Pandora), Benelux (Arti Films), China (Time Portrait), Greece (Strada), Mexico (ND Mantarraya), Poland (Bomba), Portugal (Leopard), Turkey (Fabula) and ex-Yugoslavia (Demiurg).
Distributors, as critics, have warmed to both the singularity of the real-world world – a Roma community in Southern Italy – captured by Carpignano in his immersive verité slice of life style, as the sense of a directors building a cohesive body of work now stretching to two shorts and two features, based in the same Roma world and linking characters from one film to the next.
“We are thrilled to accompany the distribution of ‘A Ciambra’ in France, and continue to follow Jonas Carpignano who, film after film, enables us to see those we never see in such a cinematic way,” said a Haut et Court source.
“Academy Two is extremely proud and thrilled to release Jonas’ film in his own country,” said the Italian distributor’s Alessandro Giacobbe
He added: “Jonas confirms with ‘A Ciambra’ his great talent in depicting the authenticity of this vital and unique world with the magic of cinema. We believe the great response in Cannes and the prestigious award will bring him the audience he truly deserves.”
“A Ciambra” is a RT Features (Brazil), Sikelia Productions (U.S.), Stayblack (Italy), and RAI Cinema (Italy) production, co-produced with DCM Pictures (Germany), Haut et Court (France), Film i Väst (Sweden) and Filmgate (Sweden). Jon Coplon, Paolo Carpignano, Ryan Zacarias, Gwyn Sannia, Rodrigo Teixeira, Marc Schmidheiny and Christoph Daniel take a producer credit.
Though “A Ciambra” has been hailed as a triumph of embedded filmmaking, inspired by Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild” – the family scenes of Pio’s real-life multitudinous Amato family are extraordinary – the movie’s emotional core remains a creative construct: Pio’s relationship with older friend Ayiva (Koudous Seihon), the Burkina Faso immigrant who was the hero of Carpignano’s feature debut “Mediterraneo,” also sold by Luxbox and a Sundance Selects acquisition.
Though the star of the affair remains Pio Amato, playing a rough version of himself, scenes require both Amato and Seihon to act. It is the subjugation of his friendship with Ayiva – and any potential girlfriend relationship – to his hell-bent mission to become a man, judged by Roma standards, which provides “A Ciambra” with its final, calibrated, emotional punch.