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TLA Releasing has snared U.S. and U.K. rights while Optimale has acquired all French rights to Bani Khoshnoudi’s “Fireflies” (“Luciernagas”), from Sandro Fiorin’s sales and distribution company, FiGa Films.

“Some of the best Queer cinema right now is undoubtedly coming out of Central and South America, and ‘Fireflies’ is the perfect example of this,” said Adam Silver, TLA Releasing Manager – U.K. operations and acquisitions, who expects an international release for later this year.

“Apart from its social and political statements, ‘Fireflies’ is a strong film, and heralds the birth of a very talented female director whose personal story echoes the film,” said Optimale distribution head, Cyril Rota.

Optimale aims to slot the film into as many French film festivals as possible this year and for a theatrical release by the end of 2019 or early 2020, he added.

Written and directed by Khoshnoudi, an Iranian-born Mexico City resident, “Fireflies” follows a young gay Iranian who finds himself stranded in Vera Cruz, Mexico, after boarding the wrong cargo ship in Turkey. He has escaped persecution in Iran, but now faces a different set of challenges, including a new language, customs and relationships.

The title “Fireflies” is inspired by a 1975 op-ed by the late Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini who described “the state of fascism and cultural resistance in Italy at the time, creating a metaphor for resistance as the disappearance of fireflies,” said Khoshnoudi.

“Fireflies” was Miami-based FiGa Films’ first acquisition on the eve of the 16th Morelia Film Festival last year where it had its world premiere.

It premiered at Rotterdam (IFFR) on Jan. 26 where it was well received, according to Fiorin. Screenings are also ongoing at Sweden’s Goteborg Film Festival, where it plays in competition.

“We hope to close a few more territories during Berlinale,” said Fiorin who recently picked up Brazilian docu “La Arrancada” (“On the Starting Line”), which will have its world premiere in the Berlinale’s Panorama section.

The France-Cuba-Brazil co-production is the first feature-length documentary by Aldemar Matias Jr. from Manaus, Brazil. Shot in Cuba, “La Arrancada” turns on Jenniffer, a young competitive runner who questions her career and life as a national athlete in Cuba, and her mother, a no-nonsense boss at a state-owned fumigation center.