Italy’s Minerva Pictures — the company specialized in genre fare such as teen chiller “Shortcut” that recently made a U.S. splash — is launching world sales at AFM on “Mondocane,” a dystopian drama about the struggle of two 13-year-old orphan boys in a Southern Italian gangland. 

“Mondocane” toplines Alessandro Borghi (“Devils”).

In “Mondocane,” Borghi (pictured) plays the leader of one of two gangs vying for control of the Southern Italian port city of Taranto which in a dystopian near-future that has become a no man’s land surrounded by barbed wire and abandoned by police. The film is being marketed as an “Oliver Twist tale in a ‘Mad Max’ setting,” Minerva Pictures international sales executive Francesca Delise told Variety.

Delise noted that for Minerva, “Mondocane” segues from the international success it saw with Alessio Liguori’s “Shortcut,” which despite the pandemic recently went out theatrically on almost 700 U.S. screens via Gravitas Ventures.

“Mondocane” is produced by Rome-based Groenlandia, the company founded by multi-hyphenate Matteo Rovere (“Romulus”) and producer Andrea Paris with RAI Cinema and Minerva also on board as co-producers.

Pic now in post is directed by Italy’s Alessandro Celli and marks Celli’s feature film debut after working in TV, most recently helming a children’s show produced for Disney Plus titled “I Cavalieri di Castelcorvo.”

Minerva’s AFM slate also includes Toni D’Angelo’s “Caliber 9,” a contemporary remake/sequel to Italian cult helmer Fernando Di Leo’s violent 1980 noir “Madness”; immigration-themed comedy “Easy Living,” directed by brothers Orso and Peter Miyakawa, which premiered this year at the Santa Barbara Intl. Film Festival; and terrorism-themed drama “A Hole in the Head” by veteran Neapolitan auteur Antonio Capuano, whose “Pianese Nunzio, Fourteen in May” went to Venice.