EXCLUSIVE: French director Alice Diop’s breakout feature Saint Omer has secured distribution in a raft of territories for Paris-based Wild Bunch International (WBI) following its Venice Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize win.
In Western Europe, the film has been sold to the U.K. (Picturehouse), Italy (Minerva Pictures), Spain (Surtsey Films), Greece (One From The Heart), Benelux (Cherry Pickers Film Distribution), Switzerland (Cineworx) and Pan-Scandinavia (Edge Entertainment).
In Eastern Europe, the title has been acquired for Yugoslavia (MCF), the Czech Republic (Film Europe), Lithuania (Kino Pavazaris) and Poland (New Horizon).
In the rest of the world, it has been bought for Canada (Films We Love), Australia and New Zealand (Palace Films), Japan (Transformer), Taiwan (Hooray Films), Israel (Lev Cinemas) and Middle East (Teleview).
The international sales announcement follows hot on the heels of news last week that Saint Omer had been acquired for the U.S. by Neon’s boutique label Super, in a deal brokered by CAA Media Finance and WBI.
The feature, which also won the Luigi De Laurentiis Lion for Best Debut Feature in Venice, is among five titles in the running to be France’s Oscar submission this year. A decision is due on the choice on Friday (Nov 23).
Loosely inspired by a real-life infanticide trial in 2013, the drama follows successful pregnant novelist and lecturer Rama (Kayije Kagame) as she attends the trial of Laurence Coly (Guslagie Malanga), a young Senegalese woman accused of killing her 15-month-old daughter by abandoning her to the rising tide on a beach in northern France.
Although Laurence admits to killing the child, she cannot or will not provide motivation, claiming it was a kind of sorcery out of her control. Rama’s plan to write about Laurence in a book inspired by the Medea myth increasingly unravels as she becomes overwhelmed by the case, and reckons with memories of her immigrant mother as well as her own impending motherhood.
The drama is Diop’s first fiction film but the filmmaker has already achieved success on the festival circuit with the documentary Nous (We), which won the Berlin Film Festival’s Encounters Award in 2021.
Saint Omer is lead produced by Toufik Ayadi and Christophe Barral at Paris-based Srab Films, who previously took credits on Ladj Ly’s Oscar-nominated French feature Les Misérables.