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Sarajevo Film Festival Premieres ‘Grain’ From Berlinale Winner Semih Kaplanoglu

Variety logo Variety 7/18/2017 Leo Barraclough
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The Sarajevo Film Festival, Southeast Europe’s leading movie event, has unveiled its competition program, with the latest pic from Berlinale Golden Bear winner Semih Kaplanoglu among the world premieres.

Turkey’s Kaplanoglu, who won Berlin’s top prize with “Honey,” delivers “Grain,” a dystopian tale set in a society dominated by global corporations in which a genetic crisis leads to massive crop failure. The Match Factory is handling international rights.

The other world premieres are two films by first-time feature directors: Albania’s Gentian Koci with “Daybreak” and Romania’s Emanuel Parvu with “Meda Or the Not So Bright Side of Things.” “Daybreak,” which is being sold by Wide, follows Leta and her baby son. When they are thrown out of their apartment, they move in with an old woman, whom Leta must keep alive at all costs. “Meda” is a micro-budget feature about a lumberjack, Doru, whose wife dies leaving the child she was looking after, Meda, at risk of being sent to an orphanage. Doru decides to fight for adoption, against the odds.

Other films competing include two Georgian pics: Rezo Gigineishvili’s thriller “Hostages,” and “Scary Mother” from debut feature director Ana Urushadze. The former pic, which premiered in Berlin’s Panorama section, is a fictionalized retelling of a real-life 1980s hijacking. WestEnd Films looks after international sales. The latter film follows a middle-aged housewife who must choose between her family and pursuing her passion, writing.

Greece is represented by Elina Psykou’s “Son of Sofia,” a fairytale-like coming-of-age drama about a Russian boy who moves to Athens to live with his mother but finds himself at the mercy of her tyrannical elderly lover. The film won the trophy for international narrative feature at Tribeca. Psykou, who was named by Variety as one of its Ten European Directors to Watch in 2013, previously helmed “The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas.”

Sarajevo’s competition section is completed by Stephan Komandarev’s “Directions,” which played in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard. The Bulgarian film, being sold by ARRI Media Intl., follows a number of taxi drivers and their passengers as they crisscross Sofia at night.

The festival runs Aug. 11-18.

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