Autlook Film Sales Boards IDFA Competition Players ‘Amateurs in Space,’ ‘Machines,’ Plus Venice Title ‘Robinu’

John Hopewell
Variety

Venice-based Autlook Film Sales has acquired world sales rights to two IDFA feature competition entries, both world premieres: “Amateurs in Space” and “Machines,” as well as “Robinu,” from vet Italian TV journalist and Silvio Berlusconi scourge Michele Santoro.

Autlook hits IDFA with the doc trio as it negotiates with a major SVOD platform rights for North America and Australia/New Zealand on soccer bio “Becoming Zlatan,” directed by Fredrik and Magnus Gertten.

A discomfiting, if aesthetic, vision of workers’ toil at a textile factory in Gujarat, “Machines” marks the feature debut of former CalArts alum Rahul Jain. It first drew notice winning best documentary at last November’s Goa Film Bazaar Works in Progress Lab. Award was adjudicated by a jury formed by Autlook, German co-producer Thanathos Pallas Film and former YLE commissioning editor and IDFA Forum regular Ikka Vehkalahti. “Machines” has also tapped distribution and marketing coin from IDFA’s Bertha Fund.

”We were stunned by the film’s artistic value, which goes to the heart of documentary filmmaking, pairing an astonishing visual and vision and an intransigent look on social injustice. Rahul is an incredible young talent and we are very proud to acquired his film,” said Autlook CEO Salma Abdalla.

Produced by Sigrid Jonsson Dyekjaer for Danish Documentary Production, which have “Hunting for Hedonic” at this year’s IDFA Forum, “Amateurs in Space” tracks an attempt made by over six years by two friends of director Max Kester to build a DIY space ship. Remarkably, the duo manages to build a rocket on the budget of a small car but fall out in the process.

“We signed the project three years ago when it was pitched as a comedy. But along the way, the friends got into huge fights, adding a tragic-comic layer, which Max turned into a complex narrative of friendship and ambitions,” commented Autlook TV sales manger Andrea Hock.

Screening at IDFA’s Best of Fests section, “Robinu” is a portrait of teen Mafia recruits in Naples, which has seen 60 dead in the last two years in drug and gang-related violence. Autlook, which turns 10 this year, describes the documentary as “raw, sometimes shocking.”

“Robinu” drew largely positive reviews at this year’s Venice Festival, Newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano writing that “‘Robinu’ surprises in that it’s a complex multilayered film, a fully-fledged movie rather that a TV-style documentary.”

Abdalla will present a panel on the sales and marketing strategy for “Becoming Zlatan” at the IDFA Academy. A portrait of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the film has been released in 22 territories, Autlook said in a press release Friday.

Nick Vivarelli contributed to this article

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