Distributor Kino Lorber has picked up North American rights to the latest film by Gianfranco Rosi, Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare). The documentary just won the top prize (Golden Bear) at the Berlin Film Festival, which has placed it even higher on our list of anticipated works, if that was possible. The plan is for a fall release. Meanwhile, Rosi’s previous masterpiece, the Venice Film Festival winner Sacro GRA, still hasn’t officially come out in the U.S.
Here is the full press release on this great news, including a synopsis of the film:
Kino Lorber announced today that it acquired all North American rights to Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare), winner of the Golden Bear at the 2016 Berlinale. This highly cinematic and timely portrait of life on the Italian Island of Lampedusa and how the migrant crisis has come to affect their community emerged as one of the most critically acclaimed films at this year’s festival. It is the second major festival prize for Rosi who won the Golden Lion in 2013 at the Venice Film Festival for his documentary Sacro GRA. The company plans a Fall theatrical release.
Meryl Streep, President of the Berlinale Jury this year said at the awards ceremony her seven-member jury was “swept away” by the film, which she called “urgent, imaginative and necessary filmmaking.” She continued, “It’s a daring hybrid of captured footage and deliberate storytelling that allows us to consider what documentary can do. It demands its place in front of our eyes and compels our engagement and action.” The Ecumenical Jury called Fire at Sea “a film that refuses to allow the status quo to go unquestioned.”
Richard Lorber, CEO of Kino Lorber, said, “Gianfranco Rosi captured the hearts and minds of the Berlinale this year with what will become one of the essential films of our times. We could not be more thrilled to bring this film to North American audiences later this year.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by Richard Lorber, CEO of Kino Lorber and Daniela Elstner of Doc & Film International.
In Fire at Sea, Samuele is twelve and lives on an island in the Mediterranean, far away from the mainland. Like all boys of his age he does not always enjoy going to school. He would much rather climb the rocks by the shore, play with his slingshot or mooch about the port. But his home is not like other islands. For years, it has been the destination of men, women and children trying to make the crossing from Africa in boats that are far too small and decrepit. The island is Lampedusa which has become a metaphor for the flight of refugees to Europe, the hopes, hardship and fate of hundreds of thousands of emigrants. These people long for peace, freedom and happiness and yet so often only their dead bodies are pulled out of the water. Thus, every day the inhabitants of Lampedusa are bearing witness to the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our times.