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Locarno: Alief Enters Sales Biz, Acquiring International Rights to Artizm’s ‘Scary Mother’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Deal broadens international interface for Georgia's film industry

LOCARNO, Switzerland — London and Tbilisi-Based Alief LLC, an international player on Georgia’s film scene, is moving into the world sales business, acquiring international rights to “Scary Mother,” a Locarno Cineastes of the Present title.

The sales deal was struck Friday by Alief and Artizm, “Scary Mother’s” Georgian producer. It includes festival reprsentation.

Alief’s move comes when Eastern European production, though volatile in production volume, is sparking ever more interest outside its region. Alien can now act as a valuable conduit between the region and international markets.

The feature debut of Georgia’s Ana Urushadze, an alum of the Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film University (TAFU), psychological thriller “Scary Mother” also marks a co-production between Georgia’s Studio Artizm and Gemini and Estonia’s Allfilm, producer of the Academy Award nominated “Tangerines” and “Portugal,” which currently plays at Locarno in its Baltic Cinema First Look focus.

Also written by Urushadze, it turns on a 50-year-old put-upon housewife, Mañana, who hesitates between the pressures to be a dutiful wife and mother and her passion to write. When she chooses the later, sacrificing everything both physically and mentally, the once taken for granted woman is seen as a monster.

After Locarno, “Scary Mother” will be seen at the Sarajevo Sarajevo Film Festival  where it plays in competition next. A Georgia and Estonia national release is planned for later in September.

An executive producer on the Moscow International World Premiere tittle “Our Evil” (“Mal Nosso”) which has also been selected for the upcoming 50th Sitges Fantastic Film Festival, Alief, headed by Brett Walker and Miguel Govea, has already consulted for Italian sales agency Coccinelle Film Placement and has a large base of worldwide buyers and distributors that will help secure rights deals.

“We have seen the need for a closer, more direct approach in getting films to market,” Walker said.

He added: “I come from an advertising sales background and want to bring a more audience-focused sales and distribution strategy to other quality standout films; with the view to help create cohesion between product, exhibitors and their audiences.”

“Since part of our job as producers includes dealing with distributors and financiers at several international markets, we realized that in between shooting our productions we could place others and find good homes for prestige genre films like ‘Scary Mother,” said Govea.

Alief will go on producing, which it started with “Our Evil” and will continue with “Negative Numbers,” Govea said. But, he added, there is a need for films that “fill a void between traditional author cinema and big commercial events.”

A sales company is also a way to support the new wave of up-and-coming filmmakers from Western Asia, Latin America and the occasional Anglo-Saxon indie,” Govea added.

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