You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Locarno: France’s Luxbox Acquires ‘Cocote’ Sales Rights (EXCLUSIVE)

IFF Panama Primera Mirada laureat showcased by Cannes Film Market

In the run-up to Switzerland’s Locarno Festival, Paris-based sales company Luxbox has acquired world sales rights to “Cocote,” one of this year’s standout titles from the Dominican Republic.

The fiction feature debut of Nelson Carlo de los Santos, whose feature length essay, “Santa Teresa y otras historias,” won Best Latin-American Film at 2015’s Mar del Plata Festival, ”Cocote” stands out from most Dominican productions in its three-way international co-production backing from DR’s Guasabara Cine, Argentina’s Nabis Filmgroup (“One Sister”) and Germany’s Pandora Film Produktion (“The Other Side of Hope,” “Only Lovers Left Alive”).

Winning this April the IFF Panama’s Primera Mirada, a pix-in-post showcase, “Cocote” featured one month later at the Cannes Film Market in a Panama Goes to Cannes special screening. It will world premiere at Locarno in its Signs of Life section. A sidebar aiming to explore frontier territories in the seventh art, the festival has said, Signs of Life has gone competitive in 2017, raising its profile.

Also written by De los Santos, “Cocote” turns on an evangelical gardener who goes home for the funeral of his father, gunned down by an influential man. Mourning, he is forced to participate in religious rites contrary to his beliefs. He is also expected to avenge his father’s murder.

“Cocote” was inspired in part by a childhood memory, turning on a man who worked at De los Santos’ great aunt’s house. One day, after an absence, he showed up and his aunt asked if he resolved everything. “Unaltered, he said: ‘No, nothing. I did to him what he did to my dad, I cut his neck,’” De los Santos recalled. He added: “As I understood, that man kept working at my aunt’s house, but I never talked to him, because I was too afraid.”

It’s impossible to talk about crime without mentioning morality, De los Santos argues. “In my country, I start to ask: From what point do we constitute morality then?” “Cocote” contrasts two religions, Los Misterios, a syncretic mix of West African beliefs and Christianity, and the Protestant Church, “introduced in the late ‘50s through U.S. imperialism.” The film’s acceptance of different points of view creates a constant rupture in narrative, De los Santos added.

“Cocote” is produced by Fernando Santos, Lukas V. Rinner and Christoph Friedel. De los Santos worked with non-pro actors, rehearsing for six months. Funding sources ranged as far as Ibermedia, the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund and Qatar’s Doha Film Institute.

“We are very excited to handle the film of a young director who questions in a very personal film the idea of morality in his country and who enquires about the place of religions in his culture, in the Dominican Republic,” Luxbox’s Fiorella Moretti and Hedi Zardi said in a joint statement.

They continued: “‘Cocote’ offers a single vision of hardly ever-shown rituals of the island and a sensorial experience for the audience. We were impressed by the astonishing beauty of the Caribbean landscape mixed with the dormant threat and tension in each frame,” saying that the film meshed  “a demanding visual proposition” and “deep research into beauty.”

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'A Star Is Born,' 'Vice' Lead 2018 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Nominees

    The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) announced their nominees for the 8th annual AACTA International Awards on Tuesday. “A Star Is Born” and “Vice” lead the pack, with five and four nominations respectively. The two leading films compete with “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “Roma” for best film, while Nicole Kidman becomes the [...]

  • China's Government Orders Talent Home to

    After Golden Horse Awards Embarrassment, China Orders Talent Home for Huabiao Ceremony

    China’s government quietly ordered top Chinese talent back to the mainland from abroad this past weekend to attend a Beijing ceremony for its highest film industry honors, the loosely bi-annual Huabiao Awards. The move came just weeks after it directed mainland film executives and talent to snub after-parties and return home as quickly as possible [...]

  • Fotosintesis Readies Mexico-U.S. Immigration Animated Feature

    Fotosintesis Readies Immigration Animated Feature ‘Beast’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Mexico City-based Fotosintesis Media, a joint initiative of Mexico’s Mantarraya Group and writer-director Miguel Angel Uriegas, is moving into pre-production this January on “Beast,” the third Mexican animated feature from the cause-driven entertainment label. News of the move comes as Uriegas presents at Ventana Sur’s Animation! forum 15 minutes of work in [...]

  • Scott Derrickson

    'Doctor Strange' Director Scott Derrickson to Return for Sequel

    “Doctor Strange” director Scott Derrickson has signed up for Disney-Marvel’s sequel. The studio, which had no comment, is about to start searching for a writer. Derrickson co-wrote the 2016 original with C. Robert Cargill and Jon Spaihts. Benedict Cumberbatch is expected to reprise his role as Stephen Strange, along with co-stars Benedict Wong and Rachel McAdams. [...]

  • Roma

    'Roma' Keeps Adding Theaters in Mexico

    “Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron’s deeply personal coming-of-age drama, is also a love letter to Mexico City. The sprawling metropolis — its cobblestoned streets, fading movie palaces, and lush parks — is practically a central character in the story of a family grappling with love and loss. Perhaps that’s the reason that “Roma” has been passionately embraced [...]

  • The Favourite

    Breaking Down 'The Favourite's' Insane, Royal Dance Battle (Watch)

    We’ll go out on a limb and say no scene in this year’s crop of awards films was more WTF? than the absurd and delightful royal dance moment in “The Favourite.” Debuting early on in Yorgos Lanthimos’ female love-triangle drama, the dance serves as wonderful reminder that, even when dressed like Merchant Ivory and full [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

    Reviews of DC’s “Aquaman” vary between feelings of surprise and disappointment. Some critics are applauding director James Wan’s strong re-imagining of a previously stale character, while others are harping on DC’s inability to stack up against rival Marvel — but most are just relieved the film isn’t an all-out flop. There are virtually no qualms about [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content