Monoduo Films, the leading distributor of feature-length music documentaries, has acquired world sales rights to “Faith and Branko,” an intimate story that chronicles the relationship between two musicians over the course of seven years. The deal was announced on the eve of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, where the film screens in the Agora Doc Market.
Written and directed by Catherine Harte, “Faith and Branko” follows the journey of the English musician Faith, who travels to Serbia to learn the gypsy accordion. There she meets the Roma violinist Branko, and despite the language barrier, they fall in love through music. Captivated by their musical chemistry, they marry and take their duo abroad. But their relationship is tested by the realization that music may be all they have in common.
“I met Faith and Branko while I was doing research for an MA in Visual Anthropology, so at that time I had no intention to make a film as such,” said Harte. “We were all at the same school for Romani culture, and I found myself filming them often, as they were charismatic and had amazing musical chemistry. I was also fascinated by how they communicated through music without a common language.”
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It wasn’t until after their wedding, however, that Harte decided to make a film about their unconventional relationship. “At that time, I wanted to make the film because I was interested in the dynamics of a cross-cultural marriage and in the workings of an artistic relationship,” she said. “I hadn’t seen any documentaries about love or relationships when I started, so I thought it would be interesting to show what’s beneath the exterior story of their unusual union.”
“Faith and Branko” is produced by Snezana van Houwelingen, of Belgrade-based This and That Productions. The film had its world premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest and screened in DOK Leipzig and Hot Docs.
“We are thrilled to be working with Catherine on her striking and intimate first feature,” said Ben Bassauer, head of sales and acquisitions at Monoduo Films. “‘Faith and Branko’ takes the audience on a turbulent seven-year journey that captures the ecstasy and trials of love, musical collaboration and cultural differences—all with an immense amount of heart and humor.”
“I met Catherine in 2013 and I was very pleased that the committee of Film Center Serbia recognized the quality of this project and gave its support, making it a very rare co-production between Serbia and the U.K.,” said van Houwelingen. “I am also looking forward to collaborating with Monoduo Films, hoping that thanks to them, the film will reach an even broader audience.”
Harte added that she hoped her musical love story would strike a chord with global audiences.
“All relationships are cross-cultural to a certain degree, because we have different backgrounds and expectations—and we all know what it’s like to feel inspired and excited by someone as well as alienated and lost,” she said. “I hope that the film shows both sides of their story, and that audiences can reflect on how different perspectives and expectations can impact a relationship.”