Heretic, the Athens-based boutique production company and sales agent, has acquired world sales rights for “Convenience Store,” by director Michael Borodin, which will have its premiere in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama strand.
Borodin’s feature debut follows an Uzbek immigrant working at a convenience store on the outskirts of Moscow. As with the rest of the immigrants at the store, she’s forced to work without pay and to endure mental and physical abuse, until the day she overcomes her fear and takes her fate into her own hands.
Based on real-life events and the active legal cases of immigrants in Russia, “Convenience Store” captures the horrors of modern slavery in a visceral blend of realism, documentary-style filmmaking and grand-scale cinema.
“‘Convenience Store’ was a striking viewing experience for us,” said Κonstantinos Κontovrakis, co-founder and producer at Heretic. “We were immediately compelled by the narrative and the way Michael Borodin approaches it through exceptional and realistic cinematography.”
Heretic co-founder and producer Giorgos Karnavas added: “Even if it is based on true events set in Russia, it has plenty of things to say about the hidden side of modern slavery. We hope the audience around the world finds it as urgent and as compelling as we did.”
“Convenience Store” was produced by Artem Vasilyev of Metrafilms, one of Russia’s leading independent film companies, and co-produced by Aleš Pavlin and Andrej Štritof for Perfo Production (Slovenia), and Diloy Gülün of Karma Films (Turkey). The film was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Kinoprime Foundation and Eurimages’ European Cinema Support Fund.
“‘Convenience Store’ is a very important project for us at Metrafilms,” said the company’s founder, Vasilyev. “It is a rare case when cinema meets real life so closely, and moreover when it may help change lives of real people. We are very happy to collaborate with Heretic and feel confident that the film is in great hands because of the love and energy with which the team handles it.”
Borodin has directed several short films, including “Normal,” which was selected for Cannes Critics’ Week in 2018, and “The Registration” (2019). His feature documentary “Cotton100%” will be released this year.