Athens-based Endorphin Film Sales has acquired the rights to “Kick and Scream,” the directorial debut of Croatian actress Nina Violić (“Our Everyday Life,” “The Son”), the company announced this week at the Thessaloniki Film Festival.
The film follows the final half-hour of a marriage that is falling apart, shown from the perspectives of the wife, husband, and their 6-year-old child. As reality intertwines with puppet play, the characters’ own truths are revealed, challenging the viewer’s initial judgments.
“Kick and Scream” is produced by Vanja Sremac and Zdenka Gold for Spiritus Movens, in co-production with Terminal 3, MP Filmska Produkcija, Zagreb Film, Propeler Film and Antitalent.
Endorphin’s Christina Pelekani said the company was looking for an almost completed film to add to its slate when they found “Kick and Scream” in the First Cut+ section of When East Meets West, the Trieste Film Festival’s co-production forum.
“We knew from the first moment that this could be the one,” she said. “A female debut, which deals with a relatable theme that one could connect very easily with its truth and realism. It is a beautifully conceived and executed chamber drama and Nina’s experience in theater is definitely evident in the film and a great advantage.”
Endorphin was launched in 2020 by former Warner Bros., Paramount and Studiocanal exec Viki Antonopoulou alongside marketing and distribution consultant Pelekani, who also works at Greek distributor Feelgood Entertainment.
The company had its first international feature acquisition this year with “Bebia, À Mon Seul Désir,” by Russian-born, London-based filmmaker Juja Dobrachkous, which had its world premiere in the Rotterdam Film Festival’s Tiger Competition.
Other titles on the company’s slate include “Winona,” by Greek director, screenwriter, composer and actor Alexandros Voulgaris, and “Stefanos Rokos: Nick Cave and The Bad Seed’s No More Shall We Part, 14 Paintings 17 Years Later,” a short film by Rinio Dragasaki and Araceli Lemos.
Speaking to Variety this week at the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Antonopoulou admitted that launching the sales outfit in the middle of a global pandemic didn’t come without risks.
“It’s been challenging. I can’t lie. It’s a very difficult time, because of the timing that we started, and the whole scene is changing,” she said. “Bigger companies are competing for very small projects at the moment, because they’re just trying to survive and to find the next big thing.”
She added, however, that Endorphin’s size can work to its advantage.
“We’re a small company. What we offer is our expertise, our passion, our being very transparent as well with the filmmakers and managing their expectations. And really trying to form a strong team that will be together along the whole journey of the film to get it to audiences, which is basically our goal,” she said.
Pelekani cited the acquisition of “Kick and Scream” as an example of the personal, collaborative approach that appeals to the company’s founders.
“The reason why we are choosing the films we are choosing is because, first of all, we like the film. But also, we like the people behind the project,” she said. “It’s very important for us because we are a boutique sales agency. Our goal is to have three films per year and work really close with the team. So we need to have good chemistry with them.”
Antonopoulou said the duo is drawn to female stories and female directors, which “just happened naturally,” as well as Greek projects that would allow them “to contribute to the local industry and help [Greek] films be more visible.”
A year into their new venture, Antonopoulou and Pelekani also hope to work with more first-time filmmakers. “We like debuts because we’re at the beginning as well, so we kind of connect with these people a bit more who are at the beginning,” said Antonopoulou. “We want to help each other.”