Pluto Film has expanded its lineup ahead of this year’s EFM in Berlin with Generation 14plus screener “Huling Palabas.”
The Berlin-based sales company has also acquired the historical drama “Sima’s Song” by award-winning Afghan director Roya Sadat; Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay’s timely and suspenseful German social drama “Hysteria”; and Luxembourgish helmer Eric Lamhène’s “Breathing Underwater,” which explores violence against women.
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Ryan Espinosa Machado’s Philippine coming-of-age drama “Huling Palabas,” described by Pluto Film CEO Daniela Cölle as “a charming LGBTQ debut,” follows a 16-year-old boy in 2001 who, while searching for his father in the most unlikely of places, becomes mystified by two movie-like characters who appear in his small town.
“Huling Palabas” is produced by the Philippines’ Tilt Studios, Terminal Six, WAF Studios and Studio Pulo.
“Sima’s Song” stars Mozhdah Jamalzadah and Niloufar Koukhani as Suraya and Sima, lifelong friends whose lives take very different paths in pre-civil war Afghanistan. While the wealthy Suraya is appointed head of the Women’s Organization of the communist party in power, Sima marries and gets involved with the mujahideen to defend Muslim values.
Sadat’s sophomore feature is produced by Alba Sotorra of Spain, Frank Hoeve of the Netherland’s Baldr Films, Maeva Savinien of France’s Urban Factory and Stefano Centini’s Taiwan-based Volos Films.
Büyükatalay, who won the Berlinale’s Best First Feature Award in 2019 for his drama “Oray,” takes a nuanced look at diverse members of West Asian communities in Germany in “Hysteria.”
During the filming of a Turkish-German director’s provocative film about racist arson attacks on German migrant residences in the 1990s, a Quran goes up in flames, angering the Arab extras on set. Caught in the crossfire, production intern Elif, played by Devrim Lingnau (“The Empress”), finds herself increasingly drawn into a whirlwind of shame and suspicion. Mehdi Meskar (“The Accidental Rebel”), Serkan Kaya and Nicolette Krebitz also star.
“Hysteria” is produced by Cologne-based Filmfaust, run by Büyükatalay and producer Claus Herzog Reichel.
“Breathing Underwater,” meanwhile, is described as an “emotional, character-driven drama set in the secretive world of a women’s shelter.” It follows Emma (Carla Juri), who is whisked away in the dead of night, covered in bruises and unexpectedly pregnant. As she grapples with her pregnancy and her emotional shackles to her husband, Emma rediscovers lost facets of herself through her unlikely camaraderie and strife with the women and children of the shelter.
“Breathing Underwater” is produced by Claude Waringo of Luxembourg-based Samsa Film and Belgium’s Artemis Productions.
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