Tel Aviv-based Cinephil, the sales agent for the Oscar nominated “Collective” and “The Act of Killing” among others, has clinched world rights to “Songs of Earth” from seasoned Norwegian helmer and producer Margreth Olin of Speranza Film.
The documentary project marks the third collaboration between Cinephil’s managing director Philippa Kowarsky and Olin after the DOC NYC selected “Self Portrait” and “Cathedrals of Culture,” exec produced by Wim Wenders.
Olin’s meditative and personal pic “Songs of Earth” will bow April 28 at CPH:FORUM, the online financing and co-production industry showcase, running alongside Denmark’s CPH:DOX Festival (April 21-May 12).
“I am delighted that Philippa is involved in this project from an early stage, so we can talk both content and what will be the right path for the film to reach a large audience,” commented Olin. “She is great, and it was a pleasure to work with her on ‘Self-Portrait.’ Her ability to see the potential of a film and her passion has meant everything to what the film has achieved.”
Kowarsky describes “Songs of Earth” as “an important and exceptionally beautiful film” capturing never-seen-before images of Norway. “I’m extremely thrilled to work with Margreth again,” said the sales executive, who acts on coups de coeur and believes in strong connections with local producers.
In her personal notes about the film, Olin says it will offer “a meditative experience where you feel and listen to the songs of the earth, while the camera takes you inside of nature’s smallest components and outside to the great wild panoramas.”
The film will have “a personal and close entry” through her own father (84), the main protagonist. “He is the fittest person I know, and he takes us to Norway’s most adventurous valley where he grew up and where generations have been living alongside nature in order to survive,” Olin continues.
So far, the project has received development support from the Norwegian Film Institute, co-financing from the Fritt Ord Foundation, pubcasters NRK in Norway, SVT in Sweden, and theatrical distributor Folkets Bio in Sweden, among others. “We are very happy that WWF is onboard as our partner, and are looking forward to pitching the project for the first time at CPH:FORUM,” said Olin, who confirms that European partners are circling her project.
Next to “Songs of Earth,” Cinephil’s CPH:DOX haul of completed titles takes in the John Battsek executive produced “Children of the Enemy,” world premiering in the main competition. Helmer Gorki Glaser-Müller documents a grandfather’s plight to reunite in Sweden with his grandchildren, stuck at Syria’s al-Hol refugee camp following the killing of their ISIS-recruited parents. Sweden’s Cinenic Film is producing.
Through her long-standing relationship with Denmark’s production powerhouse Final Cut for Real, Kowarsky also reps Sundance’s Special Jury Award-winning “President,” running for the DOX:Award, as well as Cille Hannibal and Christine Hanberg’s “He’s My Brother,” produced by “Flee’s” Monica Hellström, competing for the Nordic:DOX award.
Reflecting on market trends, Kowarsky said deal-making under COVID-19 is slower, and takes more effort, but she continues to sell steadily to all types of distributors, including U.S.-based Neon Distribution, which picked up “Flee” and “Gunda.” “All distributors are putting a lot of efforts behind each film and nurturing them, eagerly waiting for cinemas to re-open,” she said. However French, German, Brazilian buyers are “having a rough year,” she noted. “They can’t even look at new films as their 2021 slate is already stacked up,” said the sales exec.
Meanwhile, Kowarsky is soon to announce additional deals on Romanian doc “Collective,” vying for documentary and international feature Oscars at the 93rd Academy Awards.