Paris-based Luxbox has sold more new major territories on Peruvian Melina Leon’s Cannes Directors’ Fortnight hit “Canción sin nombre” (“Song Without a Name”), proving sales hits can come from anywhere., especially when selected for Cannes.
A standout at last year’s strong Ventana Sur Copia Final showcase, “Song Without a Name” has closed Italy with Torino.based Reading Bloom, a classics/contemporary distributor and European pay TV/SVOD with HBO Europe.
In further deals, Leon’s feature debut has sold to frequent Luxbox client Mad Distribution for the Middle East and North Africa, classic arthouse distributor Trigon for Switzerland, Belgium’s Mooov, a strong buyer of Spanish productions, fro Benelux, and classic arthouse buyer Danaos for Greece.
Spafax and Skyline have acquired airline rights; other territories are in discussion now, including important Asian markets, said Fiorella Morreti, Luxbox co-founder.
The newly-revealed deals follow on already announced licensing arrangements to Film Movement for the U.S. and Sophie Dulac Distribution in France, which will release the film next March.
Written by Leon and Michael J. White, “Song Without a Name,” yokes a winning combination of being a first feature, a movie with a strong auteurist voice, elements of genre in its slow-boiling thriller thrust and dashes of film noir and high artistic ambition in its period style: It is shot in black & white – which comes from the director’s early memory of newspaper photographs of the day, León has said – and a 4:3 box format, used by TV of the time.
Produced by La Vida Misma, in co-production with Spain’s MGC, Peru’s La Mula Producciones and Switzerland’s Bord Cadre, whose credits include hits such as “Monos,” “Divine Love” and “Birds of Passage,” the facts-based drama turns on Gabriela, 20, heavily pregnant, a new immigrant from the Andes’ Ayacucho to Lima who is beguiled by an offer from a San Benito Foundation of free-of-charge medical assistance for childbirth, uses the Foundation, never sees her new-born daughter again. Desperate, ignored by the police, she reaches the offices of newspaper La Reforma, where a young journalist, Pedro – inspired by the figure of León’s father – is told to cover her case. The trail finally takes him to a lawless Iquitos.
“Sing Without a Name” turns not only on corruption but the status of Peru’s majority indigenous population, and implicitly asks how much has changed in Perú.
“Song Without a Name “ has also played off a bullish festival run winning best film at, among events, Denver, Spain’s Huelva, Greece’s Thessaloniki , Sweden’s Stockholm, Turkey’s Istanbul and Canada’s Nouveau Cinéma Montréal Film Festival, as well as four awards in home territory at the Lima Festival and four at Fortaleza’s Cine Caerá. It has scooped 26 festival prizes to date.
“Every year you see at film festivals one film that blows you away. In 2019 ‘Song Without a Name’ was this title: A hyper-personal thriller based on a true story, but most of all a heartbreaking movie in monochrome black and white and with a beautiful soundtrack,” said Marc Boonen, at Mooov.
“This marks our sixth film with Luxbox ! We are very proud of this collaboration that started in 2016 and has allowed us to start bringing such impactful films to an Arab audience,” added Mermaid Deghedi at Mad Distribution.
Distributors have welcomed the film warmly and the reaction of audiences worldwide have so far been extremely encouraging, said Luxbox’s Hedi Zardi and Moretti, who launched the sales agency in 2015.
“Melina León is traveling to defend her film and meet her audience before the up -coming releases next spring. This personal story crosses borders and meets incredible echoes worldwide.”