Los Angeles-based 1844 Entertainment has acquired international sales rights and U.S. distribution for Jorge Cuchí’s 2020 Venice Critics’ Week player, “50 o Dos Ballenas se Encuentran En la Playa” (“50 (or Two Whales Meet on the Beach)”).

“50” stars young actors José Antonio Toledano as Félix and Karla Coronado as Elisa, two 17-year-olds who together embark on the 2016 social media phenomena Blue Whale Challenge together. In the “game,” players are assigned tasks over a 50-day period which start as trivial or innocuous activities, but eventually mutate into self-harm and, at its conclusion, suicide.

“When people decide to commit suicide it is not because they want to put an end to their lives, but because they want to put an end to their sadness,” explained Chuchí of the spark that ingnited his feature debut.

Describing his protagonists, he remembered that Felix and Elisa started as “two kids who came to life inside my head with an overpowering desire to end their short and sad lives; two young lovers who play a suicide game that pushes them to live and love with intensity for whatever remains of their ruined – by others, as always – lives, thru the accomplishment of 50 challenges in 50 days.”

“Some people have said to me that my film is sort of a nihilistic adventure. I could agree with that,” he finished.

1844 often brings international festival hits and critically acclaimed titles to audiences across the U.S. Recent examples include two 2018 movies: Marcelo Martinessi’s “The Heiresses,” a Berlin Silver Bear winner which took the best Latin American film prize at San Sebastian, and Benjamín Naishtat’s “Rojo,” which won best director at San Sebastian, and just this year, Teona Strugar Mitevska’s “God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya,” winner of the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the 69th Berlin Film Festival, which launched in select theaters across the U.S. last week.

Upcoming 1844 releases also encompass Italo-Argentine Maura Delpero’s “Maternal,” an Ecumenical Jury Prize winner at Locarno, and Carlo Sironi’s “Sole,” which garnered the European Discovery Prize at the 2020 European Film Awards.

“50” is produced by Verónica Valadez P., Hari Sama and Laura Berrón at Mexico’s Catatonia Cine, the trio behind Sama’s own “This is Not Berlin,” a multi-award-winning coming of age drama which impressed at Sundance, Tribeca and San Sebastian, among others.