– The French sales agent will notably be wagering on Demba in the Encounters section and upcoming films by Kaouther Ben Hania, Mehdi M Barsaoui, Alessandra Celesia and Pia Marais

The Party Film Sales to wield a highly attractive line-up in Berlin

Demba by Mamadou Dia

The European Film Market, unspooling within the 74th Berlinale (running 15 – 25 February), is shaping up to be a lucrative one for French international sales agent The Party Film Sales (directed by Sarah Chazelle and Etienne Ollagnier).

The team steered by Estelle de Araujo and Samuel Blanc are set to negotiate on behalf of Demba by Senegalese director Mamadou Dia, which will enjoy its world premiere in the Encounters competition. Highly acclaimed for his debut feature film Nafi’s Father and awarded two trophies in Locarno 2019 (the Golden Leopard in the Cineasti del Presente section, as well as the prize for Best First Film), the director’s latest story revolves around Demba who’s on the verge of retiring after 30 years of service in the town hall of his small town in northern Senegal. Over the course of a torrid summer, in the run up to the second anniversary of his wife’s passing, he realises that he can’t simply carry on as if nothing has happened. As his mental health deteriorates, he discovers a new connection with his son who had been a stranger to him. Will Demba be able to move past his loss without losing himself? Production is steered by Senegal firm Joyedidi alongside Germany’s Niko Films and Qatar.

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EFP_shooting stars right 2024

Presales, meanwhile, are set to kick off on the basis of the screenplay for You Shall Not Make an Image, which will be the 6th feature film by Kaouther Ben Hania who has previously competed in Cannes, who is nominated for this year’s Best Documentary Oscar thanks to Four Daughters [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Kaouther Ben Hania
film profile
]
and who is returning to fiction following on from Beauty and the Dogs [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Kaouther Ben Hania
film profile
]
(screened in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section in 2017) and The Man Who Sold His Skin [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Kaouther Ben Hania
film profile
]
(selected for Venice’s Orizzonti line-up in 2020 and nominated for 2021’s Best International Film Oscar). His latest opus will follow in the footsteps of Bouchra, who was raised in a mausoleum dedicated to the saint Sidi Sardi and who is faced with a hostile imam who wants to turn the family home into a mosque. Her life is transformed when she meets Ahmed, a cameraman who wants to help her make a film about the saint. This project sees her immersed in a fascinating investigation, a saga exploring Tunisia and the 20th century which shakes her deepest inner convictions. It’s an initiation into love, myths and cinema… You Shall Not Make An Image is produced by French firm Tanit Films, Germany’s Ma.ja.de Filmproduktion, Sweden’s Laika Film & Television, Tunisia’s Mime Films and Belgium’s Kwassa Films.

The French sales agent will also be pressing on with presales on five titles in post-production, including Mehdi M Barsaoui’s French-Tunisian-Italian movie Aïcha, on the basis of a promo reel (read our article: https://cineuropa.org/fr/newsdetail/452180/), which will be the director’s second feature after the multi-award-winning work A Son [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mehdi M Barsaoui and Sami B…
film profile
]
.

Another post-production title gracing the line-up is Italian director Alessandra Celesia’s documentary The Flats, which takes us to an apartment in New Lodge where Joe is looking back over his childhood memories of “The Troubles”. The number of deaths in this Catholic neighbourhood in Belfast was tragically significant. Joe is joined by his neighbours Jolene, Sean, Angie and others, all willingly taking part in this process of reliving the collective memories which have shaped their lives and the area they live in… Production is overseen by French firm Films de Force Majeure together with Belgium’s Thank You & Good Night Productions, the UK’s Dumbworld and Ireland’s Planet Korda Pictures.

Likewise in post-production and pre-sold on a promo reel basis, is Transamazonia (working title) by South Africa’s Pia Marais (who was awarded a Special Mention in Berlin in 2013 by way of Layla Fourie [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and who competed in Locarno in 2010 with At Ellen’s Age [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
). The story revolves around Rebecca, who’s the daughter of missionary Lawrence Byrne and who was declared “a miracle” after surviving an aeroplane crash in the depths of the Amazon rainforest when she was a child. Years later, Rebecca has turned into a miracle-working healer, supporting her father’s mission thanks to her growing reputation. But when illegal loggers invade the lands belonging to the indigenous peoples to whom they’re preaching, Rebecca’s father moves them to the epicentre of this steadily escalating conflict… The film is produced by French outfits Cinéma Defacto and Gaijin together with Germany’s Pandora Filmproduktion, Switzerland’s Point Prod, Taiwan and Brazil.

Standing similarly tall in this tantalising assortment of post-production works are This Life Is Mine by the late Sophie Fillières (article) and In the Nguyen Kitchen by Stéphane Ly-Cuong (article).

(The article continues below – Commercial information)

(Translated from French)





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