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Laszlo Nemes’ ‘Sunset’ Bought by Sony Pictures Classics, Global Buyers (EXCLUSIVE)

Sony Pictures Classics and a raft of distributors worldwide have picked up Laszlo Nemes’ “Sunset,” the widely anticipated follow-up to his Oscar-winning Holocaust drama, “Son of Saul.” The film is world premiering in competition at the Venice Film Festival on Monday and will go on to play at the Toronto Film Festival.

Negotiated by Playtime, the deal re-teams Nemes with Sony Pictures Classics, which acquired “Son of Saul” in 2015 at Cannes, where the movie won the Grand Jury Prize, and championed it through the awards season. “Son of Saul” ended up winning the foreign-language Oscar and a Golden Globe, as well as a BAFTA and other awards, and established Nemes as a major new voice. Sony Pictures will distribute “Sunset” in North America and Australia.

“Sunset,” which is produced by Gabor Sipos and Gabor Rajna of Hungarian banner Laokoon Filmgroup (“Son of Saul”), is set right before World War I and follows 20-year-old Irisz Leiter, who arrives in dazzling Budapest to work in her late parents’ legendary hat store. Leiter is suddenly confronted with her past and starts searching for answers about her family before stumbling upon dark secrets.

Also a co-producer, Playtime has sold the film to France (Ad Vitam), Germany (MFA), Spain (Avalon), Greece (Filmtrade), U.K. (Curzon), Italy (Movie Inspired), Japan (Fine Films), and Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia (California Filmes). Mozinet will release the film in Hungary, where the story is set. The Hungarian Film Fund also co-produced “Sunset.”

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Other deals were signed for Benelux (Cineart), Austria (Thimfilm Filmverleih), China (Film Archive), CIS (Russian World Vision), Israel (Lev Cinemas), Portugal (Midas), Taiwan (Flash Forward Entertainment), Romania (Voodoo Films), Norway (Tour de Force), Finland (Future Film) and Iceland (Bio Paradis).

“The themes weaved in ‘Sunset’ are dear to Nemes,” said Playtime co-founder Nicolas Brigaud-Robert. “It follows individuals who are not traditional heroes, who don’t have control over what surrounds them and are on a journey to find answers. In ‘Son of Saul,’ the main character is facing the absurdity and the horror of the Shoah, and in ‘Sunset,’ Irisz Leiter witnesses the chaos of Budapest and downfall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.”

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