Berlinale: Wide House Adds Beckermann, Solanas, Boote Docs to Claire Simon’s ‘Young Solitude’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Teaming with ICM Partners last year to represent Raoul ‘I Am Not Your Negro,’ Wide House reps four doc-features at Berlin

PARIS — Wide House, one of France’s premier documentary sales houses, has added three more titles to its Berlin sales slate: Ruth Beckermann’s “The Waldheim Waltz”; “A Journey to the Fumigated Towns,” from Argentina’s Fernando Solanas; and “The Green Lie,” by Warner Boote.

The doc-features join “Young Solitude,” from Claire Simon, which sees Wide House re-teaming with the French documentary filmmaker after their collaboration on “The Graduation.”

“A committed and very timely story,” said Wide House general manager Anais Clanet,” “The Waldheim Waltz,” directed by Ruth Beckermann (“The Dreamed Ones”), focuses on the so-called Waldheim affair. In it, in the run-up to Austria’s 1986 presidential election, the Jewish World Congress fires of allegations that candidate Kurt Waldheim, the U.N. Secretary General over 1972-81 had lied about his past military service in World War II. As Austria finally confronted its role in the conflict, Waldheim’s defense – that he couldn’t have done anything to stop Nazi atrocities – exemplifies for Beckermann the Austrian myth that the country was an innocent victim of Nazism. The attack on him also prompted aback.lash of patriotism which may have helped his election victory.

Sure to spark interest among buyers, “Young Solitude” is a classic coming-of-ager in which Simon explores the desire for freedom of teenagers living in an underprivileged suburb of Paris, which often includes them movie away and enduring an intense solitude. Wide House previously sold Simon’s “The Graduation” doc-feature portrait of the exacting but often seemingly subjective criteria of subjection to France’s most famous film school La Femis.

The film is produced and being distributed in France by Sophie Dulac, who also distributed “The Graduation.” This marks the first sales-distribution partnership between Dulac and Wide House.

“I am delighted to work with Claire Simon once again, after The Graduation in 2016,” Clanet told Variety via statement: “She is one of the best French female directors of our time and unfairly underrated to me. Wide House’s mission is to change that internationally.”

“A Journey to the Fumigated Town” is the latest documentary by Fernando Solanas, a documentary legend in Argentina since his 1968 anti-colonialist milestone “The Hour of the Furnaces.” Awarded an honorary Golden Bear in 2004, and now an Argentine senator, his “Journey” is “a pamphlet against the farming system in Argentine, lead by a filmmaker but also a fearless senator,” said Clanet. Produced by Cinesur and mixing classic doc tools – testimony, recreation of episodes, archive footage – “Journey” is also the final episode in his series of eight films dedicated to Argentina’s crises in the 21st century, here the health and eco-impact of Argentina’s soya and and GMO grain production.

Werner Boote takes a cynical look at the green consumer movement with his most recent film, “The Green Lie.” The film was produced by Austria’s E&A Film and will world premiere as part of the Culinary Cinema program at Berlin.

Unconvinced by the narrative that money spent on green products can save the world, Boote and environmental expert Kathrin Harmann, deconstruct the myth that corporations have the environment in mind when they make and market “green” products, and look for ways that consumers can protect themselves.

The film features interviews with academics such as Noam Chomsky and Raj Patel. There are debates and disagreements, but ultimately Boote declares: “When you shop with a conscience, you don’t save the world, you save the corporations.”

Launched by Clanet in 2011, and specializing in art and culture or social issue theatrical docs, Wide House joined forces with ICM Partners on Raoul Peck’s “I am Not Your Negro,” representing international sales while ICM Partners handled North America.

CREDIT: Wide House

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