Neon’s boutique label Super has secured U.S. rights to Alice Diop’s acclaimed drama Saint Omer, following its world premiere earlier this month at the Venice Film Festival, where the film won the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize, as well as the Luigi De Laurentiis Lion of the Future Award for Best Debut Feature.
Inspired by a true story, Saint Omer is billed as a contemporary version of the Medea myth. The film follows the novelist Rama (Kayije Kagame) as she attends the trial of Laurence Coly (Guslagie Malanga), a young woman accused of killing her 15-month-old daughter by abandoning her to the rising tide on a beach in northern France. As the trial continues, the words of the accused and witness testimonies will shake Rama’s convictions and call into question our own judgment.
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One of just four films selected to competition this year at the Venice, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, Saint Omer has also been named as one of five films shortlisted by the French Academy Awards commission for the 2023 Best International Feature race. The film will next have its U.S. premiere as part of NYFF’s Main Slate before going on to the BFI London Film Festival and a theatrical release via Super, at a date that has not yet been announced.
Saint Omer is Diop’s second film on the heels of the documentary Nous (We), which won the Berlin Film Festival’s Encounters Award in 2021. Her debut fiction feature also stars Valérie Dréville and Aurélia Petit. Diop wrote the script with Amrita David and award-winning novelist Marie NDiaye. Srab Films’s Toufik Ayadi and Christophe Barral — the producers behind Ladj Ly’s Oscar-nominated French feature Les Misérables — produced alongside Arte France Cinéma and Pictanovo Hauts-de-France.
Super earned its first Oscar nomination in 2021 for Jasmila Zbanic’s Quo Vadis, Aida?, which secured a slot in the category of Best International Feature Film. The label’s principals Darcy Heusel and Dan O’Meara were the team behind Honeyland, which was the first non-fiction feature to land Academy Award nominations for Best Documentary and Best International Feature Film in the same year, and Victor Kossakovsky’s Gunda, which was also shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature. Super more recently released Bianca Stigter’s critically acclaimed documentary Three Minutes – A Lengthening, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and went on to play at Telluride, TIFF and this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The company earlier this month acquired Colm Bairéad’s award-winning drama The Quiet Girl (An Cailín Ciúin), which has been announced as Ireland’s entry for Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards and selected for the 2022 European Film Awards.
Mason Speta negotiated the deal for Saint Omer on behalf of Super, with CAA Media Finance and Wild Bunch International on behalf of the filmmakers.
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