Ali Abbasi’s Un Certain Regard Title ‘Border’ Wins Over Cannes Buyers (EXCLUSIVE)

Ali Abbasi’s Swedish troll love story “Border,” a highlight of this year’s Un Certain Regard at Cannes, has been sold in all major territories by Films Boutique.

“Border” follows a border guard (Eva Melander) who has the ability to smell human emotions and catch smugglers. When she comes across a mysterious man with a smell that confounds her detection, she is forced to confront disturbing insights about herself and humankind. The movie was penned by Abassi, Isabella Eklöf, John Ajvide Lindqvist, a Swedish novelist who is best known for his book “Let the Right One In” which was adapted into a hit movie.

“Border” was acquired by solid distributors across the world, including in France/Switzerland (Metropolitan), Scandinavia (Triart), Japan (Kino Films), China (Lemontree), Russia (CIS Volga), Taiwan (Filmware), Benelux (Filmfreak), Latam (Impacto Cine), Germany/Austria (Wild Bunch Germany), Spain (Karma) and Portgual (Alambique). All remaining territories are currently in negotiations.

Rolling off its Cannes premiere, the film received widespread critical acclaim and was acquired by Neon for distribution in the U.S. and Canada.

Variety’s Alissa Simon called the film “an exciting, intelligent mix of romance, Nordic noir, social realism and supernatural horror that defies and subverts genre conventions.”

Louis Balsan, head of sales at Films Boutique, said the movie received 15 offers right after its first screening at Cannes. “It’s a truly original story. It’s a genre film, as well as a romance drama and a well-executed thriller. So those three elements make the film stand out from other films,” said Balsan.

Balsan also pointed out that “Border” had attracted mainstream distributors who identified the film’s potential to reach well beyond niche audiences for pure genre movies.

“Border” marks the sophomore outing of Abbasi, following “Shelley” which world premiered at Berlin in the Panorama section.

“Border” was produced by Meta Film Stockholm, Spark Film & TV and Kärnfilm, in co-production with Meta Film Denmark, Film i Väst, SVT and Copenhagen Film Fund. “Border” was also backed by Swedish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Danish Film Institute, MEDIA and Eurimages.

Films Boutique has five other films playing at Cannes: Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego’s Directors Fortnight hit “Birds of Passage;” Julio Hernandez Cordon’s “Buy Me a Gun” also playing at Directors Fortnight; Antoine Desrosieres’s “Sextape” at Un Certain Regard; and Zsofia Szilagyi’s “One Day,” and Jean-Bernard Marlin’s “Sheherazade” playing at Critics’ Week.

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