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LevelK Boards Sitges-Bound Spanish Horror Film ‘The Passenger’
Read more about LevelK Boards Sitges-Bound Spanish Horror Film ‘The Passenger’ here
October 4th 2021

LevelK Boards Sitges-Bound Spanish Horror Film ‘The Passenger’

LevelK has boarded international sales rights to “The Passenger” (“La pasajera”), a high-concept Spanish horror film directed by Fernando Gonzalez (“Downunder”) and Raul Cerezo which will world premiere at Sitges in the Panorama Fantastic section.

Produced by Jose Luis Rancaño (“The Night My Mother Killed My Father”), “The Passenger” follows a group of strangers on a road trip who get abruptly interrupted when their van accidentally hits a female hiker in the middle of the night. They decide to take her to the hospital but soon understand that they only have to comply with a clear rule: not to sit next to her.

The film was penned by Luis Sánchez-Polack (“Prodigios,” “El paisano”), based on an original idea by Cerezo. “The Passenger” is headlined by established Spanish actors, including Ramiro Blas (“Blackwod”), Cecilia Suarez (“The House of Flowers”), Paula Gallego (“Paquita Salas”) and Christina Alcazar (“Cachorro”).

Gonzalez and Cerezo said the “film’s narrative microcosmos is a shared car: a place where friends and enemies have no alternative but to co-exist on a long journey.”

“We wanted to play with the language of cinema and suspense and make a film where something as small as a van leads to something much bigger,” said the pair, who added that they strived to create a suspenseful and suffocating atmosphere and an “adventure experienced by characters who do not know each other and who will learn to love each other when united by an unsustainable situation.” They said the challenge of shooting in a single vehicle also proved “stimulating,” creatively-speaking.

“The Passenger” shot in Spain and was lensed by Ignacio Aguilar, who previously worked with Cerezo on the horror short “8.”

The movie was financed by Gobierno de Navarra. LevelK will kick off sales on the film at Sitges. The company, which is headquartered in Denmark, handles films from many different nationalities, including “As In Heaven” by Tea Linderburg, “Hive” by Blerta Basholli, Aik Karapetian’s “Samuel’s Travels” and Jonathan Ogilvie’s “Lone Wolf.” Read the Variety exclusive here.

LevelK Boards Latvian Dark Comedy ‘Samuel’s Travels’ Ahead Of Fantastic Fest Premiere; Watch Debut Trailer
Read more about LevelK Boards Latvian Dark Comedy ‘Samuel’s Travels’ Ahead Of Fantastic Fest Premiere; Watch Debut Trailer here
September 20th 2021

LevelK Boards Latvian Dark Comedy ‘Samuel’s Travels’ Ahead Of Fantastic Fest Premiere; Watch Debut Trailer

EXCLUSIVE: Sales company LevelK has boarded Latvian-Belgian dark comedy "Samuel’s Travels" ahead of the film’s world premiere at this year’s Fantastic Fest.

Pic comes from director Aik Karapetian (People Out There) and producer Gints Grūbe (Chronicles Of Melanie). The film follows a foreigner who gets lost in the remotest part of Eastern Europe while searching for his biological father. When a minor road accident leads to a chance meeting with a pig-farmer’s daughter, his priorities must change if he wants to survive.

Kevin Janssens (The Ardennes) and Laura Siliņa are in the leads, with Juris Bartkevičs (Three Fold) and Aigars Vilims (Piton) in supporting roles. The film is mostly in English.

“It’s a fairytale about the false and deceptive perception of events and people we meet during our lifetime. We go through ordeals in order to understand a simple truth, that if we want to be loved we must care for each other,” commented Karapetian. Read the full Deadline exclusive here

‘Equinox’ Director Tea Lindeburg on Toronto, San Sebastian Buzz Title ‘As in Heaven’
Read more about ‘Equinox’ Director Tea Lindeburg on Toronto, San Sebastian Buzz Title ‘As in Heaven’ here
September 11th 2021

‘Equinox’ Director Tea Lindeburg on Toronto, San Sebastian Buzz Title ‘As in Heaven’

Lise, 14, walks in a cornfield on a sunny day, her pañm brushing its spikes. Suddenly, the sky darkens and a sinister red cloud builds in the distance, moving ominously towards her, then raining blood on her face.

The next day, Lise, the eldest of eight siblings, will become the first in her family to go away to school. But then a dramatic turn of events puts her future in doubt.

Set on a farmstead in late nineteenth century West Jutland in Denmark, “As in Heaven” marks the feature debut of Tea Lindeburg. Sold by Denmark LevelK, it is based on a literary classic, “En Dødsnat” (“A Night of Death”), the 1912 novel by Marie Bregendahl. Its blood cloud opening sequence turns out to be a premonitory dream, as Lise awakes in her bed on the morning of a day that may change her life altogether.

Which in a way seems to be the very point of the film. A buzz title produced by Lise Orheim Stender (“Heartstone”) and Jesper Morthorst (“Silent Heart”) for Danish production shingle Motor, it world premieres in Toronto’s Discovery section before celebrating its European debut in main competition at the San Sebastian Festival.

Lise dreams of going away to school, as women’s education begins to become one of the battles fought for by women. But that dream of emancipation is endangered by familial responsibilities as a woman, a challenge still pressing near 150 years after the story.

More than anything else, however, shattering the scenario of a classic period drama, “As in Heaven” rings true as a portrait of young female consciousness,  kaleidoscopic, chaotic, ranging from an eroticism to Lise’s sense of own sexual allure, moments of sudden fantasy and a self awareness which sets her apart from the other characters. It builds to a tremendous scene when Lise looks in mirror fully conscious of her future fate.

Variety talked with Lindeburg just before the film’s Toronto world premiere.

”As in Heaven” begins with a dream, dreamt by Lise. Though a period drama picturing rural life in 1880s-or-so Denmark, it slips straight social realism, I think, to build as a portrait of a young woman’s emerging consciousness  at multiple levels, sexual, social, even of gender issues. Could you comment?

It was never my ambition to tell a straight social realism story. It’s not the way I experience or see life. And just as importantly, it’s not the way the people living in rural Denmark in the 1800s experienced life either. They believed in signs. And in visions. And in destiny and God. I felt it important to include that whole layer, to try to convey how life was understood back then. Lise’s visions are not included in the original novel it is adapted from, these are my own interpretations and an attempt to emphasize why the mother’s vision has so much weight in the story. Because what IS a big part of the novel is the mother’s dream, and how her vision ends up becoming true. But why it becomes true is up for each one of us to decide on our own. Read full Variety interview here.

LevelK Boards Danish ‘Cake Dynasty,’ Toplining ‘Riders of Justice’s’ Nicolas Bro
Read more about LevelK Boards Danish ‘Cake Dynasty,’ Toplining ‘Riders of Justice’s’ Nicolas Bro here
August 25th 2021

LevelK Boards Danish ‘Cake Dynasty,’ Toplining ‘Riders of Justice’s’ Nicolas Bro

International sales and aggregation outfit LevelK has picked up darkly funny feature “The Cake Dynasty,” toplining Anders Thomas Jensen regular Nicolas Bro (“Riders of Justice,” “Adam’s Apples”). The feature is adapted from the eponymous stage play by debut director Christian Lollike.

One of Denmark’s most lauded contemporary playwrights and stage directors, Lollike is well-known for his topical and often politically-charged works staged in Europe, Australia and the U.S.

Co-written by Lollike and Sigrid Johannesen, “The Cake Dynasty” turns on debt-ridden cake factory owner Niels Agger whose numerous suicide attempts have failed miserably. His wife Else tries to save the factory by asking her daughter and son-in-law for help. The young business school graduates suggest a comprehensive modernisation of the factory, focusing on trendsetting healthy food. Stressed about these new ideas, Niels instead falls in love with the factory’s new cleaning lady, Zeinab, originally from Iraq.

Cast against Nicolas Bro as the crisis-stricken cake maker are Tina Gylling Mortensen (“In a Better World”) as his wife Else and Sweden’s Bahar Pars (“A Man Called Ove”) as Zeinab. Experienced behind the scenes talent includes multi-winning cinematographer Manuel Alberto Claro (“Melancholia”, “A Taste of Hunger”), and editor Anders Villadsen (“Men & Chicken”).

Steering the project for Tales Inc. is two-time Academy Award winning producer Kim Magnusson (“Helium”, “Election Night”), with Michael Fleischer and Maj Andersson. Read the full Variety exclusive here