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‘Gunda’ Director Victor Kossakovsky Follows Up With Ocean Focused Documentary, Sales Handled by AC Independent, Cinephil (EXCLUSIVE)

Russian documentary filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky and the production team behind his Oscar-shortlisted feature “Gunda” will follow up with the second instalment in his “Empathy Trilogy.”

AC Independent will handle the North America sale and Cinephil will be selling international rights. They will be kicking off sales this week at the European Film Market in Berlin.

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The new film focuses on the health of the oceans and the effects of industrial fisheries. The “Empathy Trilogy,” of which “Gunda” formed the first part, looks at the sentience of non-human animals.

After a pre-production shoot in June 2022, principal photography is planned for June 2023, with a projected release date in 2025.

While “Gunda” captured the lives of farm animals, notably the engaging mother sow who was its eponymous protagonist, for this new project, Kossakovsky is collaborating with the German artist known as K49814 to record her quest to raise awareness of our depredation of the oceans and the destruction humankind inflicts on the world’s fish species.

At current rates of exploitation, the ocean’s population of edible fish will mostly disappear by 2048. Their loss represents a major part of the ongoing Sixth Extinction, the first worldwide extinction since the end of the Cretaceous, 65 million years ago.

“Equally a visual poem and a call to action, in this second chapter, Kossakovsky invites us to pay close attention to yet another facet of our environment that we don’t see – or choose to ignore,” Cinephil said. “Kossakovsky weaves balletic action and a deceptively simple story into an edge-of-your seat experience, gradually situating viewers within a dynamic event.”

The film brings back together much of the team behind “Gunda,” including cinematographer Egil Håskjold Larsen, sound designer Alexander Dudarev, editor Ainara Vera, and producers Anita Rehoff Larsen and Tone Grøttjord-Glenne for Sant og Usant, and Joslyn Barnes for Louverture Films.

“Gunda” was the breakout title of 2020’s inaugural Encounters competition at the Berlinale, and was snapped up for North American distribution by Neon. Kossakovsky’s 2018 film “Aquarela” premiered out of competition at Venice, and has picked up by Sony Pictures Classics.

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