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Riz Ahmed, a leading awards contender this year with “Sound of Metal,” and “Game of Thrones” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau have joined the Danish animated documentary “Flee,” which plays at Sundance, as executive producers. Ahmed and Coster-Waldau will also voice the lead roles in an English-language version of the film, which will debut later this year.
Originally selected for Cannes Film Festival 2020, “Flee” will have its world premiere in world documentary competition at Sundance Film Festival on Thursday. International sales will be handled by Cinephil, while 30WEST will handle North American sales.
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“Flee” tells the story of Amin Nawabi (a pseudonym), a child refugee fleeing his home in Afghanistan to safety in Denmark. Recounted mostly through animation to director Jonas Poher Rasmussen — his close friend and high-school classmate — Amin tells for the first time the story of his extraordinary journey. Ahmed will play Amin, while Coster-Waldau voices Rasmussen.
“I was floored by the emotional impact of ‘Flee.’ This is a unique project that pushes forward our ideas of what documentary, animation, and refugee-centered narratives can be. I’m proud to help bring this project to life for English-speaking audiences,” said Ahmed.
Coster-Waldau said: “When I watched ‘Flee’ I was blown away by the power of a story told in a simple way. ‘Flee’ is a story of extreme perseverance and hope where all hope seems lost. By using animation director Jonas Poher Rasmussen captures the intensity of one refugee’s unbelievable journey from the streets of Kabul to the Danish suburbia. Because Amin is able to tell his story hidden behind his animated avatar it feels so much more revealing and honest than had it been a standard filmed interview.”
The film is directed by Rasmussen, and written by Rasmussen and Nawabi. It is edited by Janus Billeskov Jansen, whose credits include the Oscar-nominated “The Hunt” (2013), Joshua Oppenheimer’s Oscar-nominated “The Act of Killing” (2012), Yance Ford’s Oscar-nominated “Strong Island” (2017), and Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round” (2020), the Danish entry for the 93rd Academy Awards.
The film was produced by Monica Hellström (“The Distant Barking of Dogs”) and two-time Oscar nominee Signe Byrge Sørensen (“The Act of Killing,” “The Look of Silence”) for Final Cut for Real (Denmark), and Charlotte De La Gournerie for Sun Creature Studio.
“Flee” is co-produced by Denmark’s animation studio Sun Creature, France’s Vivement Lundi!, Sweden’s MostFilm, Norway’s Mer Film, ARTE in France and Vpro in the Netherland. The film is supported and produced in association with VICE Studios and RYOT Films and Ahmed’s Left Handed Films.
Left Handed’s film “Mogul Mowgli,” directed by Bassam Tariq, and co-written, starring and produced by Ahmed, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Fipresci International Critics’ Prize. It is nominated for six British Independent Film Awards, including best screenplay, actor, music, debut screenwriter, cinematography and sound. Strand will release the drama in the U.S. this year. Earlier this month, it was announced that Left Handed inked a first-look television deal with Amazon Studios, and hired former AMC exec Allie Moore to oversee production and development.
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