Hong Sang-Soo’s Berlinale Film ‘In Water’ Sells to Cinema Guild for North America (EXCLUSIVE)
Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo’s latest film, “In Water,” has been bought by Cinema Guild for North American distribution on the heels of its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.
The film played in the Encounters section and is expected to have its North American premiere at a festival later this year. Cinema Guild will be releasing “In Water” theatrically, despite a below-standard run time of just 61-minutes.
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Described by Cinema Guild as Hong’s “most overtly experimental work to date,” “In Water” follows Seongmo (Shin Seokho), a young man who recently gave up acting and has decided to make a film with his own money. He and his two friends venture to the rocky shores of a large island to shoot the movie together. His former classmate, Sangguk (Ha Seongguk), will operate the camera and Namhee (Kim Seungyun) will act in it. The only problem is that Seongmo hasn’t decided what to make. As he wanders in the rocks and wind, Seongmo searches inspiration but what he finds is a young woman picking up trash. And that’s all he needs.
“With ‘In Water,’ Hong has disarmed us with something truly new,” said Cinema Guild president Peter Kelly. “There’s no other filmmaker today taking the same risks while still being so assured of precisely the film he wants to make; Hong’s vision has never been sharper,” Kelly continued. The deal was negotiated by Peter Kelly of Cinema Guild with Suh Youngjoo of indie sales agent Finecut.
“In Water” marks the fourth consecutive film that Hong presents at the Berlinale. He previously had films in competition, notably “The Woman Who Ran” which won the Silver Bear for best director in 2020.
Cinema Guild has handled Hong’s last 12 films — all of which have been made since 2016. The distribution company now hold U.S. rights to 19 of the director’s films, including ‘Night and Day’ (2008), which they recently acquired and “The Day He Arrives,” which they will release for the first time on Blu-ray later this year.
Cinema Guild’s upcoming releases include Hong’s “Walk Up,” Helena Wittmann’s “Human Flowers of Flesh” and Laura Citarella’s “Trenque Lauquen.”
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