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Cannes Critics’ Week Alum Makes Debut With ‘Memory House’

Didar Domehri’s Paris-based company, Maneki Films, is on board to produce “Memory House,” the feature debut of young Brazilian director João Paulo Miranda Maria, whose short films have played in Cannes and Venice.

The director started developing the script of “Memory House” in 2015 as part of the Next Step Program, a workshop created by Cannes’ Critics’ Week to help the directors of the 10 shorts playing in the sidebar to make their feature debut. Miranda Maria then took part in Cannes’ Cinéfondation program, and presented his project at the Paris Coproduction Village, an industry event organized by the team behind Les Arcs European Film Festival.

Miranda Maria has earned critical praise for his three shorts, “Command Action,” which played at Critics’ Week in 2015; “The Girl Who Danced With the Devil,” which won Special Mention at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016; and “Meninas Fomicida,” which played at Venice in 2017.

Lensed by Benjamín Echazarreta, the cinematographer of the Oscar-winning “A Fantastic Woman,” “Memory House” follows the journey of Cristovam, a native from the Brazilian hinterland who works in a milk factory in a prosperous former Austrian colony in Brazil. Feeling alienated because of his different culture and ethnicity, Cristovam settles in an abandoned house filled with objects that remind him of his origins. Deprived of social contact, he starts seeing more objects curiously appearing as if the place were “alive,” and slowly transforms into a man-animal.

The film started shooting July 15 with a cast headlined by Antonio Pitanga (“The Given Word”), Ana Flavia Cavalcanti and Sam Louwyck (“Bullhead”).

Domehri, who was named Producer on the Move 2017 by European Film Promotion, is producing the film with Denise Gomes and Paula Cosenza at the Brazilian company Bossa Nova (“Motel,” “A Sort of Family”). “Memory House” is being backed by the French film board’s subsidy for world cinema, the Hubert Bals Europe fund and Brazil’s Fundo Setorial do Audiovisual.

Domehri’s production credits include Eva Husson’s “Girls of the Sun,” about a battalion of female resistance fighters, which world-premiered in competition at Cannes and played at Toronto.

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