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BERLINALE 2020 EFM

Loco Films representing Servants at Berlin

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- The French sales agent will pull out all the stops to promote Ivan Ostrochovský’s film, screening in Encounters; its slate also includes movies in post-production by Luàna Bajrami and Veiko Õunpuu

Loco Films representing Servants at Berlin
Servants by Ivan Ostrochovský

After making a splash with his feature-length fiction debut, Koza [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ivan Ostrochovský
film profile
]
(which took part in the Berlinale Forum and Toronto, and was the national Oscar candidate in 2016), erstwhile Slovakian documentarian Ivan Ostrochovský (who also participated in the Berlinale Forum in 2014 with Velvet Terrorists [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) is pressing on with his exploration of the fiction world with Servants [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ivan Ostrochovský
film profile
]
, which will be world-premiered in Encounters, the new competitive section of the Berlinale (the 70th edition of which will unspool from 20 February-1 March). The movie will be spearheading the slate of Paris-based international sales agent Loco Films at the impending European Film Market.

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The Loco Films team headed up by Laurent Danielou and Arnaud Godart will thus be negotiating deals for the feature billed as the secret story of how the Church was involved in supporting the communist regime during the Cold War. The screenplay was written by the director together with Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Marek Leščák, and it won the Arras Film Festival’s Development Support Grant, among other sources of aid. The story unfolds in 1980 and revolves around Michal and Juraj, students at a theological seminary in totalitarian Czechoslovakia. Fearing the dissolution of their school, the tutors are moulding the seminarians into a shape satisfactory to the ruling Communist Party. Each of the young students must decide if he will give in to temptation and choose the easier way of collaborating with the regime, or if he will subject himself to draconian surveillance by the secret police. The cast includes Samuel Skyva, Samuel Polakovič, well-known thesp Vlad Ivanov, Vladimír Strnisko and Milan Mikulčík, among others. Production duties were handled by Slovakia’s Punkchart Films, with fellow Slovakians Sentimental Film and Radio and Television of Slovakia, Romania’s Point Film, Libra Film and Hai Hui, the Czech Republic’s Negativ, and Ireland’s Film and Music Entertainment on board as co-producers.

At Berlin, Loco Films will also be kicking off pre-sales (based on promo-reels) for two titles currently in post-production. The first is The Hill Where Lionesses Roar by French-Kosovar director Luàna Bajram. Having already won an award at Les Arcs Film Festival’s Work in Progress back in December, this feature debut was produced by OrëZanë Films (Kosovo) and Vents Contraires (France). The story centres on Qe, Li and Jeta, three friends who do not see any future for themselves. To change their daily lives, they decide to create a gang. But the excitement of independence will prove dangerous.

Also in post-production is The Last Ones [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Estonian helmer Veiko Õunpuu, who rose to prominence with Autumn Ball [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(the winner of the Orizzonti section at Venice in 2007) and who confirmed his immense talent with The Temptation of St. Tony [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(in the East of the West competition at Karlovy Vary in 2010) and Free Range [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Berlinale Forum in 2014). Produced by Estonia (Homeless Bob Production) together with Finland (Bufo) and the Netherlands (PRPL), The Last Ones is a modern western set in the tundra in Lapland, where a mining village made of piled-up, dilapidated construction trailers and mobile homes becomes the meeting point for the hatred between reindeer herders and miners.

At the EFM, Loco Films will also be organising a clutch of market premieres for Let There Be Light [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Marko Škop
interview: Milan Ondrík
film profile
]
by Slovakia’s Marko Škop (Best Actor Award at Karlovy Vary, Silver Atlas for Best Director at Arras, also picking up an award at Trieste, and screened at Busan, Les Arcs and Chicago, among other gatherings), the comedy Peaches & Cream by Gur Bentwich (11 nominations for the Israeli Academy’s annual awards) and Leaving Afghanistan [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Russia’s Pavel Lounguine (Best Screenplay Award at the Shanghai International Film Festival and released by Disney in its home country, where it screened in over 1,000 movie theatres).

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(Translated from French)

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