Autlook Filmsales has sold “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood,” which won the directing award for Anna Hints in the World Cinema Documentary section at Sundance, to more than 20 territories in North America, Europe and Australia. The film has its European premiere at CPH:DOX on March 20.
Deals are confirmed with Neue Visionen in Germany, Trigon in Switzerland, Against Gravity in Poland, Fidalgo in Norway, Ost For Paradise in Denmark, Vedette in Benelux, Filmtrade in Greece and Cyprus, FilmIn in Spain, Alambique in Portugal, Filmladen in Austria, Pasaka Films in Lithuania, Artcam in Czech Rep. and Slovak Rep., Best Film in Latvia, Mozinet in Hungary, and Madman in Australia and New Zealand. The rights in U.S. have been picked up by Greenwich Entertainment and in Canada by Sherry Media Group. The theatrical release in Estonia is by ACME Film.
Autlook Films CEO Salma Abdalla said: “It’s exciting to see this high level of engagement and marketing ideas for theatrical releases around the globe.” The film’s European theatrical roll out is planned for fall 2023.
First offers from U.K., Taiwan, France, Latvia and Korea are being reviewed.
“Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” is produced by Marianne Ostrat of Alexandra Film. The co-producers are France’s Juliette Cazanave, Iceland’s Hlín Jóhannesdóttir and Estonia’s Eero Talvistu.
“The film is about universal aspects of womanhood and the healing power of human connection,” Ostrat said. “Hence, we are incredibly happy that the film resonates with distributors from all these different territories and cultures. It’s the highest proof to what we have firmly believed in while making this movie: humanity.”
The film is an intimate and contemporary portrayal of the Southern Estonian smoke sauna tradition (“savvusanna kombõ”), listed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
“The history of the smoke saunas as a place of giving birth inspired Hints to focus on women who come together in the protective darkness to share their innermost secrets and intimate experiences. The engaging film captures them joining in a sense of communion to wash off the shame trapped in their bodies and regain their strength,” according to a statement.
The film is produced by Alexandra Film, Kepler22 Productions and Ursus Parvus, with participation from the Estonian Film Institute, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Tartu Film Fund, CNC, Sacem, Icelandic Film Centre and Sundance Institute Documentary Fund.