‘Bike Thief,’ ‘Hello Again,’ ‘Karnawal’ Lead Beta Cinema Slate at AFM (EXCLUSIVE)

Leo Barraclough
·3-min read

“The Bike Thief,” “Hello Again – a Wedding a Day” and “Karnawal” are among the hottest titles on Beta Cinema’s sales slate for the virtual version of the American Film Market, which starts Monday.

The Munich-based sales company will give Matt Chambers’ “The Bike Thief” its market premiere at AFM, following its world premiere this week in competition at the Tokyo Film Festival. Beta recently showed the film to select British buyers in a private screening in London and is now negotiating the U.K./Ireland deal.

The movie, starring Alec Secareanu (“God’s Own Country”) and Anamaria Marinca (“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”), explores the question of how far a father would go in present-day London to support his family when his only means to provide, his bike, is stolen.

“Hello Again – a Wedding a Day,” another completed title, is attracting strong interest too, Beta Cinema tells Variety. Hot on the heels of its appearance at Rome’s MIA market, Beta is negotiating deals for the film in Eastern Europe and Asia. Its screening at AFM is likely to up the ante.

The film – a female-driven “Groundhog Day” meets “My Best Friend’s Wedding” romantic comedy by writer and director Maggie Peren – provides much needed feel-good relief. It opened in German cinemas in the top 5, with a box-office gross so far of more than €500,000 ($593,000) for the Warner Bros release.

Juan Pablo Félix’s “Karnawal” is also screening in the market. The film, which won multiple awards at Ventana Sur, premiered at virtual Toronto Film Festival. It features the multiple malambo dance champion Martín López Lacci in his first screen role, opposite veteran star, and Pablo Larraín-regular, Alfredo Castro. In a statement, Beta describes it as “vibrant and energetic filmmaking” by “a director to watch.”

“Kindred” and “The Auschwitz Report” are screening at AFM as well, and round out the slate of completed films. “Kindred” (a.k.a. “Corvidae”) was acquired by IFC Midnight in the U.S., where it is being released today. A sale to the U.S. for “The Auschwitz Report” will close soon.

Also on the AFM slate but not screening there is “Diabolik,” based on the comic-book series, which sold more than 150 million copies. The movie delivers “suspenseful crime action in the finest 1960s Bond style,” Beta said, and is a highlight of the upcoming titles. The Manetti brothers have “adapted an Italian treasure for the big screen – and in the most appropriately charming retro fashion. This is escapist filmmaking at its best.” The wide Italian release is scheduled for Dec. 31. First teasers and trailers are available at AFM.

Stefan Ruzowitzky, who won an Oscar for his arthouse title “The Counterfeiters,” but who also showed himself to be a talented genre filmmaker with “Anatomy” and “Cold Hell,” has delivered a genre crossover with the historical thriller “Hinterland.” Shot entirely against green screen with computer generated backgrounds, the movie marries the mood of classic German expressionist filmmaking of a “Dr. Caligari” with a modern take on “Sin City.”

In the aftermath of World War I in 1920s Vienna, an ex-prisoner of war and former police detective is drawn back into a serial killer case. Beta is going to reveal first footage at AFM.

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