Italian sales company True Colours has acquired world sales in most territories on Moroccan director Ismaël El Iraki’s gritty Casablanca-set “Zanka Contact,” a romancer pairing a faded rock star with a drug problem and a “streetwise amazon (…) with a liquid gold voice,” according to catalog notes from the Venice Film Festival, where the film world premiered in the Horizons section dedicated to cutting-edge titles.
The film, which is El Iraki’s debut feature, is co-produced by France’s Barney Production, Morocco’s Mont Fleuri Production, and Belgium’s Velvet Films.
The deal for world rights – excluding France, Morocco, and Belgium – was sealed in Venice between True Colours chief Gaetano Maiorino and Saïd Hamich Benlarbi, who is the head of Barney Production.
Meanwhile, in separate but related news, “Zanka” has also been picked up in Venice by Paris-based specialty distributor UFO Distribution for France.
“Zanka Contact,” which is shot in 35mm and mixes musical, romance, and western tropes, has been described by the director in an interview with Variety as “a 70s subversive genre movie seen through a 90s lens.”
Born in Morocco, El Iraki is now based in Paris where he attended La Fémis, the prestigious French film school. He is a survivor of the Eagles of Death Metal concert at Paris’s Bataclan venue in November 2015, and says the PTSD from that experience was a starting point for writing his first feature.
The film will segue from Venice to the London Film Festival and very possibly to other fall fests.
True Colours will be kicking off “Zanka Contact” sales at the Rome MIA market in October and also at the online AFM, Maiorino said.
Maiorino added that this is the first French title on the True Colours slate, which is increasingly expanding beyond Italian confines.