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BUENOS AIRES – Germany’s Picture Tree Intl. has clinched an impressive clutch of early major territory pre-sales – taking in France, Japan and Mexico – on Carolina Hellsgård’s “Ever After,” a feminist zombie road-movie thriller also acquired for the U.S. in a deal revealed on the cusp of Ventana Sur.

In the newest announcements, E-Cinéma has taken France and New Select rights to Japan; Starcastle has closed Mexico and Mockingbird Vietnam.

The distributor in Germany is Farbfilm, with ZDF/Arte pro-buying the film as its broadcasters. The German festival premiere will be held at the Max Ophüls festival in Saarbrücken in January.

In a notable sales roll on the title, the new deal announcement comes just days after Elizabeth Shelton’s Juno Films confirmed on Friday that the boutique U.S. distribution company had also clinched U.S. on “Ever After.”

The sales were negotiated by Yuanyuan Sui, Picture Tree Intl. co-managing director.

Picture Tree Intl. is also in negotiations with the U.K., Spain, Korea and remaining Latin American territories, Yuanyuan Sui added.

The caliber of the buyers highlights the singular crossover character of “Ever After,” with the film going to genre-driven distributors but also classical arthouse distributors, said Andreas Rothbauer, founder of Picture Tree Intl.

They also take in bigger buyers such as Japan’s New Select Co., which buys a mix of action, drama, thriller and genre movies for both theatrical and home entertainment, such as Robert Schwentke’s “The Captain” and Sebastián Lelio’s Oscar-winning “A Fantastic Woman.”

That’s a reflection on the film itself. Set in a post-Apocalypse, where only two cities in Germany, Weimar and Jena, still survive a zombie cataclysm, two women, traumatized Vivi (Gro Swantje Kohñhof) and zombie slayer Eva (Maja Lenhrer), attempt to cross the bucolic but zombie ravaged countryside from Weimar and make it to Jena.

Bound in January for Sweden’s Göteborg Festival, Scandinavia’s biggest film event, where it will screen in its Apocalypse section, “Ever After” yokes moments of white-knuckle tension – as when Vivi and Eva are caught by a horde of zombies too many to shoot at one end of a bridge, security fences at the other – with ecological themes, a suggestion of a return to the Cold War, and a sense in other ways of the zeitgeist.

“The apocalypse is not the end, but the beginning of something new and exciting. It is a chance for a different kind of co-existence, with nature and with ourselves. It is the only way out,” director Hellsgård has said.

Above all, “Ever After” recasts the often male-dominated zombie narrative in a female-centric mould: Its stars, key talent above and below the line, are all women, as women make up a naturally key demography of crossover foreign-language fare.

Independent movies need to fire on such multiple cylinders in this day and age.

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Picture Tree Intl.
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