Focus Features Takes U.S. & Most Of The World On Cannes & TIFF Selection ‘Limbo’

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Andreas Wiseman
·2 min read
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EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features has taken worldwide rights, excluding the UK & Ire and Australia/NZ, to Cannes and TIFF 2020 selection Limbo.

Writer-director Ben Sharrock’s (Pikadero) well-received sophomore feature about the refugee experience is set on a fictional remote Scottish island where a group of new arrivals await the results of their asylum claims. It centers on Omar, a young Syrian musician who is burdened by his grandfather’s oud, which he has carried all the way from his homeland.

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BIFA-nominee Amir El-Masry (The Night Manager) stars in the drama which also scored BIFA nominations for Breakthrough Producer, Best Cinematography and Best Casting. Festival play also included San Sebastian, where it won the Youth Jury Award, and the BFI London Film Festival where it was runner-up for the Audience Award.

Supporting cast includes Vikash Bhai, Ola Orebiyi, Kwabena Ansah, Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen) and Kais Nashif (Tel Aviv On Fire).

Sharrock spent time working for an NGO in refugee camps in southern Algeria and living in Damascus in 2009 shortly before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. There, he formed a network of friends whose personal stories inspired the film.

Protagonist Pictures handled the sale of the film. Focus Features will distribute the film in the U.S. and Universal Pictures International will distribute internationally except in the UK, where Mubi will distribute.

Producers are Irune Gurtubai and Angus Lamont. Executive producers are Julia Oh and Daniel Battsek for Film4, Ross McKenzie for Screen Scotland, and David Segal-Hamilton and Lizzie Francke for the BFI, which awards National Lottery funding.

“We are thrilled to bring moviegoers Ben Sharrock’s entrancing film, which examines its characters’ timely yet absurd experience with distinctive humor and heartfelt pathos,” said Focus’ President of Production & Acquisitions Kiska Higgs.

“I am a long-term admirer of the iconic Focus Features brand and their continued dedication to bringing bold, risk taking films to international audiences – many becoming icons of the cinematic landscape,” commented Sharrock. “I couldn’t be more excited for Limbo to be lining up alongside an impressive, ever daring slate of films from Focus and to establish this valuable relationship as I move forward in my career.”

Sharrock is represented by CAA. El-Masry is represented by UTA.

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