DURBAN–Cologne-based Rushlake Media has acquired world sales rights for “The Sound of Masks,” by Portuguese filmmaker Sara Gouveia, and “In Search,” by Kenyan director Beryl Magoko. The announcement was made Thursday at the Durban Intl. Film Festival, where both documentaries are screening.
Rushlake’s Philipp Hoffmann says the two films will bolster the company’s growing slate of premium African content. “Both ‘In Search’ and ‘The Sound of Masks’ perfectly fit our focus of high quality African films and African stories,” he says. “I’m really proud I can help to bring these outstanding films to the international markets and audiences.”
“In Search” (pictured) is Magoko’s highly personal exploration of female circumcision, a life-threatening ritual undergone by many girls across Africa. Evoking her own experiences as a child in Kenya, where circumcision was considered a rite of passage, she embarks on a journey that simultaneously leads her into the past and the future. The film has won a number of awards since taking home best student documentary after its 2018 premiere at the Intl. Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).
“‘In Search’ is certainly one of the bravest films I’ve seen in many years,” says Hoffmann. “The success at festivals, where it’s won so many awards, already shows that audiences around the globe have the same view of the film.”
In “The Sound of Masks,” Gouveia travels to Mozambique to document the history of mapiko, a traditional masked dance that was used as a powerful tool to challenge colonization and celebrate the victories of the liberation movement. The film, which premiered at IDFA earlier this year, follows the storyteller and legendary dancer Atanasio Nyusi on a personal journey through the country’s past and present, in an intimately observed documentary that explores complex themes of identity in post-colonial Mozambique.
“‘The Sound of Masks’ is another incredibly well-made documentary, and Sara is certainly a director the international market should keep an eye on,” says Hoffmann. “I’m also glad to continue our work with [producers] Pandora de Cunha Telles and Pablo Iraola after ‘The Train of Salt and Sugar,’” Brazilian-born helmer Licinio Azevedo’s civil war drama, which was Mozambique’s first ever entry for the foreign-language Oscar race.
Rushlake specializes in licensing for VOD markets and has a strong focus on the African content. Its slate includes recent stand-outs like Berlinale player “Supa Modo,” by Kenya’s Likarion Wainaina, and “Sew the Winter to My Skin,” by South Africa’s Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, which world premiered in Toronto.
“We understand how difficult it can be for buyers and interested audiences to find the African films which are really relevant to them,” says Hoffmann. “In order to further this mission, we will also expand our operations on the continent soon.”