Marija Kavtaradze’s second feature Slow has sold to KimStim for theatrical distribution in North America and to Conic Film for the UK and Ireland. It was also scooped up by Salzgeber in Germany, Filmin in Spain, Falcon for Indonesia, New Horizons in Poland and HBO for Eastern Europe.
Slow world premiered at Sundance this year in the World Cinema Dramatic competition where it won Kavtaradze the best directing award. It is Lithuania’s Oscar entry for best international feature. The intimate portrait of a dancer and asexual sign language interpreter who navigate an atypical relationship is produced by Lithuania’s M-Films, Spain’s Frida Films and Sweden’s Garagefilms. Kino Pavasaris Distribution released the film in Lithuania.
Moroccan filmmaker Sofia Alaoui’s genre-bending Animalia will be released by Dark Star in North America. The Franco-Moroccan co-production is also heading to Benelux via Vedette, to Spain at Filmin and to HBO for Eastern Europe.
Animalia, which also world premiered at Sundance in the World Dramatic Competition, blends arthouse filmmaking with special effects fantasy in a story about a pregnant woman whose life is upended by a mysterious supernatural phenomenon.
The film is produced by France’s Wrong Films and Srab Films (Les Miserables, Les Indesirables) and co-produced by Morocco’s Jiango Films and Dounia Productions. Ad Vitam released the film in France.
Totem has also attracted buyers to Ernst De Geer’s Swedish satire The Hypnosis that premiered at Karlovy Vary where it took home awards for Best Actor, the FIPRESCI Jury prize and the Europa Cinemas Label award. De Geer’s debut feature sold to I Wonder in Italy, MindJazz for Germany and Austria and to HBO for Eastern Europe following a slew of sales already inked across the globe. Triart Films will release it in local theatres in Sweden.
The debut feature about a woman who loses her social inhibitions and starts to behave erratically after being hypnotised to quit smoking stars Herbert Nordrum (The Worst Person In The World) and Asta Kamma August (The Kingdom Exodus). Totem’s production arm Totem Atelier co-produced the dark comedy with Garagefilm, Mer Film and Film I Väst.
“Considering the tough market, we are so happy to have great distributors following young talents like Ernst, Marija and Sofia,” Totem’s team told Screen.
The sales come on the heels of a major theatrical distribution deal with Mubi for Anna Roller’s road movie Dead Girls Dancing for Germany and Austria for the film produced by Totem Atelier alongside Germany’s Kalekone Films.
Run by Laure Parleani and Berenice Vincent, Totem has established itself in production via its Totem Atelier arm and in sales and acquisitions via Totem Films since launching in 2019.
The Paris-based company’s current sales slate also includes Isabella Eklöf’s San Sebastian Competition double winner Kalak, Locarno competitor Leonor Teles’ Baan and Cannes Directors’ Fortnight entries Geng Zihan’s A Song Sung Blue and Elene Naveriani’s Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry that is also nominated for a European Film Award.
It is selling Dibakar Das Roy’s Indian comedy Dilli Dark that is competing in the first feature category at Tallinn Black Nights. Totem is also on board to co-produce and handle international sales for debut features Fantasy from Slovenian director Kukla and The Visitor from Lithuanian filmmaker Vytautas Katkus.