Grasshopper Film has acquired Marta Popivoda’s “Landscapes of Resistance,” a feature-length documentary about a 97-year-old antifascist fighter that premiered in Rotterdam and will compete this week at the Sarajevo Film Festival, Variety can reveal. The deal covers U.S. non-theatrical and digital distributions rights.
“Landscapes of Resistance” tells the story of Sonja, who was one of the first female partisans in Yugoslavia and a member of the resistance in Auschwitz. For over 10 years, Popivoda and Sonja’s granddaughter, co-writer Ana Vujanović, recorded their conversations with the former resistance fighter. The documentary travels through the landscapes of her revolutionary past, as her memories start to intertwine with the filmmakers’ own confrontation with the rising fascism in Europe today.
“I am a feminist, queer, and antifascist filmmaker,” said Popivoda. “One of the main concerns in my work is the relation between memory and history. Today, for me, it means questioning the rising tide of fascism and radicalization of class society.
“As Ana says in the film, many Yugoslav heroes from World War II got public monuments,” she continued. “Some of them are women. But none of them is an Auschwitz survivor. This film is made as an alternative monument to Sonja and many other unknown heroes of the antifascist fight. Importantly, though, she is not a monolithic, genderless heroine for us, as we know them from official history. Our cinematic monument is affective and contemplative, bearing a womanly face of war.”
“Marta has crafted a bold and breath-taking work,” said Grasshopper’s Ryan Krivoshey. “We are excited for audiences to see it and look forward to working with the entire filmmaking team on its release.”
“Landscapes of Resistance” is produced by Jasmina Sijerčić for Bocalupo Films in France, with Dragana Jovović and Popivoda for Theory at Work, a production company based in Serbia and Germany. Zsofi Lili Kovacs is executive producer.
Following its premiere in competition in Rotterdam, the film went on to scoop awards at the Jeonjou International Film Festival, the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, and Cinema du Réel in Paris. Next it will travel to the Jerusalem Film Festival, where it will screen in the main competition, before its domestic premiere at Serbia’s Beldocs International Documentary Film Festival.