Film Movement Nabs North American Rights to ‘20,000 Species of Bees,’ About a Young Girl Who Begins Gender Transition (EXCLUSIVE)

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Film Movement has acquired North American rights to Spanish writer-director Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren’s “20,000 Species of Bees,” a tender drama about growing up trans that recently won a Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear.

The New York-based distributor is planning to roll out this topical title — in which the child protagonist explores her gender identity — in U.S. theaters in late 2023, followed by a wide release on all leading home entertainment and digital platforms.

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The announcement was made by Film Movement president Michael Rosenberg and Jennyfer Gautier, the head of international sales of Paris-based distributor Luxbox.

In the Spanish-language drama, 8-year-old Aitor, who is nicknamed Cocó, travels with her mother Ane and two older siblings to visit their grandmother in a sleepy village in the Basque Country. It’s here, amongst beehives, that Aitor explores her identity alongside the women of her family who, at her request, start to refer to her with male pronouns.

In February, the film’s young lead, 9-year-old Sofia Otero, won the 2023 Berlin Silver Bear for best leading performance, bestowed by a jury headed by Kristen Stewart.

Variety film critic Guy Lodge praised “20,000 Species of Bees,” which is Solaguren’s debut feature, writing in his review that it “treats its 8-year-old protagonist’s gender crisis with care and compassion, but is also attentive to wider familial rhythms and conflicts.”

“Unassuming and meanderingly character-oriented, the film doesn’t assert itself as an issue drama — in large part because, as Solaguren presents her 8-year-old protagonist’s gradual steps toward self-realization, her film doesn’t see much of an issue to begin with,” Lodge also noted.

“With the continuing attacks on trans rights here in the U.S., ‘20,000 Species of Bees’ is a timely and important film, one that hopefully can help re-frame the debate in humanistic terms,” Rosenberg said in a statement.

Film Movement’s other acquisitions besides “20,000 Species of Bees” include Tunisia’s 2023 Oscar submission “Under the Fig Trees,” Veronique Jadin’s dark workplace comedy “Employee of the Month” and Dominik Moll’s French crime thriller “The Night of the 12th,” which played at Cannes last year.

Courtesy Film Movement
Courtesy Film Movement

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