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The Open Reel Takes Calil’s ‘Cinema Morocco’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Italy-based The Open Reel has taken all international rights to Ricardo Calil’s “Cinema Morocco,” a documentary competition entry at the Guadalajara Int’l Film Festival (FICG), which runs March 8 -15.

“Cinema Morocco” world premiered at the Dok Leipzig documentary and animation festival winning the Golden Dove Next Masters Award. The feature screened at Guadalajara on Sunday 10.

The Open Reel has scored its first sale on “Cinema Morocco” to Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera for its Al Jazeera English global channel.

Calil’s third documentary portrays the now abandoned Sao Paolo’s Cine Marrocos, once among the most glamorous picture palaces in Latin America, hosting the International Film Festival of Brazil in 1954, attended by Irene Dunne, Erich von Stroheim and Abel Gance.

For the past six years, the Cine Marrocos has become a home for the Sem-Teto help-the-homeless movement.

In the feature, Latin American immigrants, African refugees and Brazilian homeless attend a cinema-acting workshop organized by the feature film, and play the roles of classic movie scenes main characters screened at the theater more than 50 years ago. The alumni occupy the Cine Marrocos as a shelter and a place which, though in a very different way from in the past, still allows them to dream.

“I was particularly touched by this unique story telling the lives of a group of homeless, and especially by the fact that they decided to accept being part of an artistic project recreating scenes from  classical movies on the very same cinema stage,” The Open Reel CEO Cosimo Santoro told Variety.

The Open Reel, whose slate takes in Brazilian Helvecio Marins Jr.’s Berlin-selected “Homing” and Argentine Santiago Loza’s Berlin winner “Brief Story of the Green Planet”) is an Italian international sales, production and distribution company focused on independent cinema.

“It’s a film about homeless and refugees, but it’s also a film about cinema. This journey from real life to fiction that the main characters make shows us that everybody deserves a chance to shine. I think the film has the potential to be discovered and appreciated by a larger audience worldwide,” Santoro added.

“Cinema Morocco” is journalist-filmmaker Calil’s third documentary. His first feature, “A Night in 67,” co-directed alongside Renato Terra, world premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and took the best documentary prize granted by the Brazilian Foreign Press Association (ACIE Award). His second documentary, “I Am Carlos Imperial,” garnered an honorable mention at Brazil’s In-edit fest.

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