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Be For Films Snags Rights on San Sebastian Player ‘Midnight Runner’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Director Hannes Baumgartner’s debut feature, produced by Switzerland's Contrast Film, follows the tragic true-life story of one of Switzerland’s greatest distance runners

Belgian-French sales company Be For Films has announced the pickup of international sales rights for debut Swiss director Hannes Baumgartner’s “Midnight Runner,” set to play as part of San Sebastian’s New Directors.

The true-story feature turns on Jonas Widmer, one of Switzerland’s top long-distance runners, who dreams of one day participating in the Olympics. When not training, he works as a chef and is a pillar of support among his friends and acquaintances.

Just as everything seems to be headed in the right direction, Jonas fails to defend his title during a race in Switzerland, and suppressed memories of his deceased brother start to creep back into his life. Not knowing how to cope, Jonas begins to live a double life in an effort to handle his growing depression.

The film stars two European Film Promotion Shooting Stars in Max Hubacher, who this year dazzled in Marcel Gisler’s “Mario,” and Luna Wedler, the most recent actress to be chosen as an EFP Shooting Star for her tearaway performance in Lisa Brühlmann’s horror-thriller “Blue My Mind.”

Switzerland’s Constrast Film, one of the big movers and shakers in an industry clamoring for greater European and international reach, produced with support from the Bern Film Fund, Zurich Film Fund, Cultural Department Canton Thurgau, MEDIA and Burgergemeinde Bern.

The announcement comes hot off the heels of news that Contrast is planning a major move into high-end TV with what promises to be the country’s most ambitious short-format TV series to date.

The deal for Baumgartner’s debut feature was negotiated at the Locarno Festival between Contrast’s Ivan Madeo and Be For Film’s Pamela Leu. Switzerland’s Filmcoopi Zurich will distribute domestically.

“Hannes describes the emergence of violence and the question of masculinity as two central themes that are topical for a modern, urban audience,” said Madeo in a press release. He added: “He does this with innovative cinematic means that allow the audience to enjoy watching the film despite its serious subject.

“Our goal after four years remains the discovery of artistically valuable films made by new talents and produced by passionate producers,” explained Leu. “With Contrast Film, Hannes Baumgartner and legendary Swiss distributor Filmcoopi Zurich we have found this happy combination.”

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