EXCLUSIVE: One day after the acquisition of Nadine Labakis Cannes Competition entry Capernaum, UK buyer Picturehouse Entertainment has scored another of the festivals best-reviewed movies in the shape of Critics Week hit Woman At War.
Picturehouses Clare Binns and Paul Ridd negotiated the deal with Thorsten Ritter of Beta Cinema. Benedikt Erlingssons (Of Horses And Men) Icelandic feature received raves last week and its German sales outfit has received plenty of interest.
The generically diverse movie, part comedy, part social-commentary, part action-thriller, revolves around a woman who goes on an environmental mission to protect the highlands of Iceland. Halldóra Geirhađsdóttir (Of Horses And Men) takes the lead role with cast also including Icelandic musicians Davíð Þór Jónsson, Magnús Tryggvason Eliasen and Ómar Guðjónsson, who play a Greek choir that represents the protagonists inner demons. Erlingsson co-wrote the script with Ólafur Egill Egilsson (Trapped).
A Woman At War is Erlingssons follow-up to his debut feature Of Horses And Men, which won more than 20 awards including best new director at San Sebastián, best director in Tokyo, the Grand Jury prize at Les Arcs, six Icelandic Edda awards and the lucrative Nordic Council Film Prize. It was Icelands submission to the foreign language Oscar race in 2014.
Producers are Marianne Slot and Carine Leblanc of Frances Slot Machine and Erlingsson for Icelands Gulldregurinn, in co-production with Serge Lavrenyuk for Solar Media in Ukraine. Other co-producers are the films DoP Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson for Icelands Köggull and Birgitta Björnsdóttir for Icelands Vintage Pictures. Backers are The Icelandic Film Fund, Eurimages, lAide aux Cinemas du Monde, lAide aux Nouvelles Technologies du Centre National du Cinéma et de limage Animée, lInstitut Français, Ukrainian State Film Agency, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Creative Europe, and Fondation Gan.
Meanwhile, Labakis (Caramel) Cannes Competition title Capernaum revolves around a 12-year-old boy who decides to sue his parents for bringing him into the world. The hard-hitting drama was very well received at its world premiere last night.
Joint Managing Director for Picturehouse Entertainment Clare Binns commented on the acquisitions: “We are delighted to be releasing this glorious and entertaining new film, which showcases a superb central performance from Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir as a feisty middle-aged woman fighting against environmental injustice and so much more. This is the kind of character I want to see more on screen and this is the quality of filmmaking that Picturehouse want to support, and along with our acquisition of the superb Capernaum, I think we are coming away from Cannes with two truly emblematic films to embody the Picturehouse Entertainment ethos.”
In 2017, Picturehouse Entertainment, the distribution arm of UK art-house cinema chain Picturehouse Cinemas, released movies including David Lowerys A Ghost Story and Francis Lees Gods Own Country. Paul Verhoevens Elle was another key acquisition for the company. To date this year, movies include Xavier Legrands well-reviewed Custody and Roger Michells Nothing Like A Dame.