Kino Lorber, in association with blockchain-powered TVOD platform Breaker, has acquired North American rights to Beniamino Barrese’s documentary “The Disappearance of My Mother,” which had its world premiere at the Sundance Festival earlier this year, Variety has learned exclusively.
The deal was announced Monday at the Hot Docs Canadian Intl. Documentary Film Festival. It was negotiated by Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell and Autlook Film Sales North American sales and acquisitions representative Ania Trzebiatowska.
“The Disappearance of My Mother” follows iconic ‘60s fashion model turned activist Benedetta Barzini, a muse to artists and image-makers like Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. For four decades Barzini has fought for the rights and emancipation of women, as a professor, journalist and radical feminist. Now facing an existential crisis at the age of 75, she decides that she wants to leave everything and everyone behind, even as her son – director Beniamino Barrese, who has captured her on film since he was a child – is determined to use his camera to preserve his own memories of her.
“The Disappearance of My Mother” turns into a battle of the wills between a headstrong mother and son over capturing her final images through film. Produced by Nanof and RYOT Films, it will have its theatrical premiere this fall and be available on VOD and home video this winter.
“I filmed my mother with endless admiration, hoping that the rolling of my camera could help me preserve her. Forcing her in front of the lens forced me to ask myself why is it that we tell stories, why is it that we make images, and what is the power struggle that gets established between who films and who is filmed,” said Barrese. “I am grateful now that I know our film will be seen in Canada and the U.S., which once upon a time took my mum Benedetta and gave her a job because of her beauty. I hope she will challenge and inspire the audience just as much as she keeps inspiring and challenging me.”
“I was completely seduced in Sundance by Benedetta Barzini and the loving intimacy with which she is filmed by her son in this very personal documentary portrait,” said Kino Lorber’s Lidell. “This is a film about relationships: the relationship between women and the camera’s gaze, and between a son and his mother. These emotions are universal and I hope they will resonate as deeply with audiences as they resonate with me.”