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INDUSTRY / MARKET Latvia / Belgium

LevelK boards Latvian-Belgian dark comedy Samuel’s Travels

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- The movie, directed by Aik Karapetian, follows the titular lead character who, in searching for his biological father, becomes a slave for a farmer’s daughter

LevelK boards Latvian-Belgian dark comedy Samuel’s Travels
Kevin Janssens in Samuel's Travels

Danish sales agent LevelK has acquired international rights for Aik Karapetian’s dark comedy Samuel’s Travels [+see also:
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. The director, an alumnus of the Latvian Academy of Culture and Paris’ Académie Internationale des Arts – ESEC, debuted with People Out There [+see also:
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, world-premiered at Karlovy Vary in 2012. He later released a horror film, The Man in the Orange Jacket [+see also:
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interview: Aik Karapetian
interview: Roberts Vinovskis
film profile
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(2014) and a thriller, Firstborn [+see also:
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(2017). The announcement of the acquisition was first reported by Deadline.

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His fourth feature, penned in tandem with Aleksandr Rodionov, wrapped filming in September last year. Lost in the remotest part of Eastern Europe, on the edges of a mythical forest, we follow Sam (portrayed by Kevin Janssens), a foreigner searching for his biological father Lagzdins. When a minor road accident leads to a chance meeting with a pig farmer’s daughter called Kirke, Sam’s priorities must change if he wants to survive. Her kind hospitality is a smoke screen to better capture him and make him a slave on the farm. Alone, unable to speak the language and chained up 24/7 with the pigs, he learns to adapt and starts gaining the confidence that might lead to freedom and true love. 

The crew included DoP Jurģis Kmins, editor Paula Popmane, sound editor Anrijs Krenbergs, composer Justine Bourgeus and production designer  Jurģis Krāsons. The other main members of the cast are Laura Siliņa, Aigars Vilims, Normunds Griestiņš, Juris Bartkevičs and Guntis Pilsums. In his director’s statement, Karapetian disclosed his sources of inspiration: “It’s a fairytale about the false and deceptive perception of events and people we meet during our lifetime. We go through ordeals in order to understand a simple truth, that if we want to be loved we must care for each other. The main inspiration was the Greek myth of the goddess Circe, from whom Kirke, the lead heroine of the film, takes her name. According to the legend, she turned Odysseus’ traveling companions into swine, inviting Odysseus himself to stay with her and accept her love.”

Samuel’s Travels was produced by Gints Grūbe for Latvian firm Mistrus Media and co-produced by Xavier Rombaut for Belgian outfit Polar Bear. Ilze Krūmiņliepa served as the picture’s executive producer. It also received backing from the National Film Centre of Latvia, the country’s film agency. The feature will world-premiere at this year’s Fantastic Fest, running from 23-30 September.

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