EFM - DFW International
Rookie in Berlin
The feature films Rookie and Something About Love are top of the DFW International slate at EFM 2021, the fledgling company's Head of International Sales Charlotte Henskens tells See NL. The company's international sales division was set up in 2019.
Charlotte Henskens -
The Belgian feature Rookie**), currently in post-production and co-produced by Amsterdam-based BALDR Film, is described by DFW International's Charlotte Henskens as "raw Belgian drama in in the vein of Bullhead and D'Ardennen (The Ardennes), a ‘grades of darkness' social drama that the Belgians always do very well." It is also very much a crossover film, she adds, being a family drama set in the motorcycle racing arena. Earlier this year Screen International listed it as one of the European films to watch on the festival circuit.
In the film, directed and co-written by Lieven van Baelen, after ambitious motorcyclist Nicky gets into an accident, he tries to relive his dream by coaching his nephew Charlie. It quickly becomes clear though, that they're not cut from the same cloth... The film stars Veerle Baetens (The Broken Circle Breakdown*)) and former Belgian Shooting Star Matteo Simoni, and is produced by Czar Film, who co-produced Alex van Warmerdam's Borgman*) and Schneider vs Bax**).
The other films on the DFW International slate are 100% Dutch. EFM 2021 sees the market premiere of the rom com Something About Love**) (by Marc Willard), which was supposed to go out on general Dutch release in December 2020, but will roll out instead when cinemas re-open in 2021. In the film, just as Isa meets Mr Right, she encounters Mr Perfect. "It's a feel good film that people are looking for right now, something uplifting, something fun," says Henskens.
All rights outside of the Benelux are available for both Rookie and Something About Love.
The three other DFW International titles are The Marriage Escape***), Pirates Down the Street***) and Life As It Should Be***).
Johan Nijenhuis' The Marriage Escape saw astonishing box-office returns in a 2020 dominated by lockdown, attracting more than 700,000 admissions, which equated to €6.6 million in revenues. "When the cinemas were open, everyone went to see this film," enthuses Henskens. In the both light-hearted and tragicomic film, after 35 years of marriage the question is asked: how much love is too much?
Henskens points out that her two other films on offer at EFM (Pirates Down the Street and Life As It Should Be) also performed in 2020 better than would have been expected outside of lockdown.
Pim van Hoeve's Pirates Down the Street saw 205,000 admissions (€1.6m) and won the Kids Jury Award at Schlingel IFF (Germany). The film, in which the Blunderbuss family swap the high seas for the residential town of Sandsborough, has so far sold to Italy, Germany, Eastern Europe and Russia/CIS.
Meanwhile, Life As It Should Be attracted 252,000 admissions (€2.37m) and was sold to Russia/CIS (theatrical release in Ukraine) and France. The film performed particularly well in Ukraine, possibly due to the casting of local favourite Victoria Koblenko. In Life As It Should Be, party-loving and go-getting career woman (and new mum) Iris must adjust her sights after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman.
Henskens further points out that her top seller in 2020 was Black Widow (which was released in The Netherlands in 2019 with 525,000 admissions, equating to €5.15m) which sold to France, Germany, Eastern Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, India and South East Asia.
One other winning piece of business that DFW International pulled off in 2020 was the global sale of Matthias Temmermans' Jan Decleir-starrer The Claus Family to Netflix. The film was put out in the Benelux last December. The rest of the world will be tuning in over Christmas 2021.
*film supported by the Netherlands Film Fund
**film supported by the Netherlands Film Production Incentive
***film supported by the Netherlands Film Fund and the Netherlands Film Production Incentive
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