Athens-based Heretic has acquired world sales rights to “And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine,” which will world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary section, and has debuted its first-look teaser (below).
The film is the debut feature from directors Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck, whose 2016 short “Ten Meter Tower” was in competition at Berlin Film Festival and Sundance, and was a nominee for the News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
“Fantastic Machine” is produced by Danielson and Van Aertryck, and is exec produced by Plattform Produktion’s Erik Hemmendorff and Ruben Östlund, the producer and director of “Triangle of Sadness,” the Cannes Palme d’Or and European Film Award winner.
The film is a thought-provoking examination of humanity’s infatuation with itself, and with framing the world through the camera’s lens. The filmmakers explore how humankind’s obsession with image has grown to change our behavior, look at the societal consequences stemming from the image output of 45 billion cameras on the planet, and ask how humanity went from the image of a backyard to a multi-billion-euro content industry in 200 years.
In a statement, the directors said: “As filmmakers, we love the camera. We believe in the camera as a tool that can link humanity together by sharing our experiences, and create a common understanding. We hope this film will foster critical thinking. It covers nearly 200 years of history, from 1839 to today – from the very first images, to what we now call our ‘content industry.’”
Ioanna Stais, Heretic head of sales and acquisitions, said: “The two directors’ unique voice and fascination with human behavior translates into a sharp exploration of our obsession and interaction with image throughout the years. Crafted with sly and witty humor, this is a truly entertaining piece of cinema.”
Van Aertryck said: “We wanted a sales company who would be open to working with us on this out-of-the-box documentary in a way that was also perhaps less than traditional.” Danielson added: “We always work collaboratively at Plattform Produktions, and it has been great to have a sales team that embraces that.”
The film is co-produced by Vibeke Vogel, and the associate producer is Rikke Tambo Andersen. It is a co-production with Sveriges Television, Film I Väst and Bullitt Film, and has the support of Svenska Filminstitutet, Danish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Arte G.E.I.E., Swedish Arts Council, Gothenburg Municipality and See-Through Films.
Heretic’s slate includes Berlinale Panorama titles “Convenience Store” by Michael Borodin, and Milos Pusić’s “Working Class Heroes,” starring European Film Award winner Jasna Đuričić; Valentina Maurel’s debut “I Have Electric Dreams,” which won three awards at Locarno Film Festival and the top prize of the Horizontes Latinos section of San Sebastian Film Festival; and Toronto-premiered “Runner” by Marian Mathias, which won the Jury Prize Award at San Sebastian.