MORELIA, Mexico — Berlin-based Pluto Film Distribution has picked up the international sales rights, with the exception of Mexico, to Joshua Gil’s ‘Sanctorum,” which competes at the 17th Morelia Int’l Film Festival (FICM).
Founded by Torsten Frehse, the fledgling world sales and festival distribution company has an eye for arthouse and crossover films as well as features from emerging talent.
Gil’s sophomore feature closed the 34th Venice International Film Critics Week last September, where it screened out of competition and marked its world premiere.
Shot mostly in the indigenous language of Mixe with non-pros in Oaxaca and Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni salt flats, “Sanctorum” takes place in a rural village caught in the crossfire between the military and the drug cartels. A little boy’s mother vanishes along with other fellow workers at a marijuana farm. His grief-stricken grandmother tells him to go into the forest and ask the sky, the wind and the water to bring back his mother, unharmed. Perhaps in answer to his cries, the awe-inspiring power of nature unleashes itself.
The narco-violence in his country is a recurring theme in Gil’s work but “Sanctorum” is more spiritual and hopeful.
Producer Carlos Sosa of Viento del Norte Cine leads a team of producers that include Laura Imperiale of Cacerola Films, Marion D’Ornano, Gil’s Parabola Cine and Georgina Gonzalez from Off Hollywood Films. Canada’s Amy Darling of Media Darling and Cinemaven’s Tom Davia boarded the film as executive producers.
The film’s sound design, which Gil said took up a year, was crafted by sound designer-supervising sound editor Sergio Diaz whose notable credits include such acclaimed films as “Roma,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Untamed” and “Babel.”
Gil, who has a Master’s Degree in cinematography and served as an assistant camera on Carlos Reygadas’ stunning debut “Japon,” among others, worked alongside his co-DP Mateo Guzman and production designer Rafael Camacho to create the film’s visual spectacle.
“Sanctorum” is among the buzz films at Morelia, which holds its awards ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 24. Festival opened Oct. 18 and wraps Oct. 27.