The Party Film Sales Boards ‘Aicha’ From ‘A Son’ Director; ‘Transamazonia’ With ‘News of the World’ Star Helena Zengel (EXCLUSIVE)

Paris-based company The Party Film Sales has boarded international rights to “Aicha,” Mehdi M. Barsaoui’s follow-up to the Venice-premiering “A Son,” and “Transamazonia” by Pia Marais (“Layla Fourie”).

WME Independent is repping North America and multi-territory deals on “Transamazonia.” Both films are in post-production and will be teased by The Party Film Sales at the European Film Market where the company will unveil promo-reels.

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Set in contemporary Tunisia, “Aicha” is inspired by true events and tells the story of Aya, a woman in her late 20s who lives with her parents, feeling trapped in a life without prospects. One day, she’s involved in a bus crash while commuting to work. As the sole survivor of the accident, she realizes it could be her chance to start a new life. She flees to Tunis under a new identity, but everything is soon compromised after she witnesses a police blunder. The film is produced by Cinetelefilms and Dolce Vita Films, and co-produced by 13 Prods and Dorje Films, in co-production with Sunnyland Films and Cinemawaves Films.

“Aicha” marks Barsaoui’s sophomore outing. The helmer’s debut feature “A Son” won best actor at Venice Film Festival, as well as the Cesar Awards. It was sold around the world by The Party Film Sales.

“Building on his outstanding ‘A Son,’ Mehdi (Barsaoui) keeps on delving into the themes of emancipation and moral choices,” said Estelle de Araujo and Samuel Blanc, co-heads of international distribution at The Party Film Sales.

“(Barsaoui)’s work is truly striking, filled with unexpected twists and turns,” said the pair, which also pointed out the film’s socio-political backdrop in Tunisia.”

“Transamazonia,” meanwhile, follows Rebecca, the daughter of missionary Lawrence Byrne, who was declared a “miracle” after she survived a plane crash as a child, deep in the Amazon Forest. Years later, Rebecca, who became a famous healer in the region, and her father find themselves embroiled in an escalating conflict when illegal loggers invade the land belonging to the indigenous people they are evangelizing.

The film is headlined by Helena Zengel, the rising German star who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in “News of the World” and starred in “System Crasher,” which competed at Berlin and earned her a nomination at the European Film Awards.

“Transamazonia” marks Marais’ fourth film following “Layla Fourie,” which won the special jury mention at the Berlinale; “At Ellen’s Age,” which competed at Locarno; and “The Unpolished,” which won the Tiger Award at Rotterdam.

The film was produced by Gaijin and Cinema Defacto, in co-production with Pandora Film Produktion and Point Productions; in co-production with Volos Films, Aldabra Films, Vitamine C, O’Par and Cabocla Filmes; in association with Cinema Inutile, with Matizar and Tigresa, with ARTE/Cofinova, and in co-production with Arte-WDR and RTS Radio – Television Suisse.

“We’ve always been great admirers of Pia Marais’ work and are delighted to start working with her on ‘Transamanozia,'” said Estelle de Araujo and Samuel Blanc, co-heads of sales at The Party Film Sales. “It’s a dense and tense ecological thriller, exploring the complexities of human nature that we’re confident will be a landmark in Pia’s career,” said de Araujo and Blanc.

The Party Film Sales’ EFM lineup also includes Mamadou Dia’s “Demba,” which world premiered in the Encounters section at the Berlinale, as well as previously announced projects such as Kaouther Ben Hania’s “You Shall Not Make an Image,” Sophie Fillières’s “This Life of Mine” and Stéphane Ly-Cuong’s “In the Nguyen Kitchen.”


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