Sales agent M-Appeal has closed further territory deals for Japanese filmmaker Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy,” which just won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival.
Benelux rights have gone to September Film, and StraDa Films has picked the film up in Greece. September Film plans to release the title theatrically post pandemic. StraDa Films is planning a theatrical release “when the situation allows.”
M-Appeal previously closed deals for France to Diaphana, which plans a theatrical release in the second semester of 2021, with 80 to 150 prints; Portugal to Leopardo Filmes, which plans a theatrical release in November 2021; Korea to GreenNarae Media, which is planning to release the film in theaters in fall or early winter of 2021, “ideally on 100 screens or more if the pandemic situation allows”; and Taiwan to Andrews Films, which is planning a theatrical release in fall or winter 2021.
M-Appeal is in the process of negotiating and closing further deals in several territories, including China, where fierce bidding is going on, and North America, having received five offers from U.S. and one from Canada. In Spain, M-Appeal has received three offers.
September Film’s recent titles include Golden Globe winner “Minari,” European Film Award winner “Another Round,” and 2020 Cannes label selection “Summer 85.”
Pim Hermeling of September Film said: “Our foray into Asian films started not so long ago with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘Shoplifters,’ Wang Xiaoshuai’s ‘So Long, My Son,’ and Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Parasite.’ Having acquired Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s ‘Asako I&II,’ we are delighted to be working with him again on ‘Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy.’”
He adds: “We were taken by these three tender stories and their subtle weaving together of past and present, of memories and coincidence. The portrayal of women felt particularly fresh to us also, confirming to us Hamaguchi’s status among this new generation of Japanese filmmakers.”
StraDa Films has released such films as Oscar nominee “Cold War” by Pawel Pawlikowski; Golden Bear winner “On Body and Soul” by Ildikó Enyedi; and Oscar nominee and Berlin winner “Fire at Sea” by Gianfranco Rosi.
Takis Veremis from StraDa Films described “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” as “a delightful film from a director that we will be talking about for a long time to come. An ode to the feminine psyche and the unexpected mysteries of life.”
In the film, Hamaguchi blends together different stories connected by feelings of regret, choices, deception and coincidence: Meiko is startled when she realizes that the man who her best friend starts to have feelings for is her ex; Sasaki plots to trick his college professor out of revenge, using his friend Nao; while Natsuko encounters a woman from her past, leading the two to confess the feelings they have harbored in their hearts.
“In a subtle and sensitive way, Hamaguchi dissects the female universe, and explores the complexities of relationships, told through coincidences that happen in the lives of women in love,” M-Appeal said in a statement.
Hamaguchi’s 2015 feature film “Happy Hour” won major awards at numerous film festivals starting at Locarno Film Festival. His second film “Asako I & II” was selected for competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018. He is also the screenwriter of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Wife of a Spy,” which won the Silver Lion at the 2020 Venice Film Festival.