The film is the first feature for Martelli, produced by Chilean writer-directors Omar Zuniga (“The Strong Ones”) and Dominga Sotomayor (“Too Late to Die Young”) for Cinestación, Alejandra Garcia and writer-director Andres Wood (“Violeta Went to Heaven”) for Wood Producciones, and co-produced by Nathalia Videla Peña and Juan Pablo Gugliotta for Argentina’s Magma Cine.
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“1976” takes place in a small seaside town where Carmen (Aline Kuppenheim) reflects on her life as she transforms from a side-lined housewife into an integral caretaker. Putting her sanity and the values of her peers on the line, she steps further into uncertainty by aiding a weary and wounded opponent to Pinochet’s regime, Elías (Nicolás Sepúlvda), at her priest’s request.
“As the tone of Manuela Martelli’s masterful debut morphs from drama to thriller, it relentlessly draws audiences into lead character Carmen’s psyche in a chillingly experiential way,” Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell said in a statement.
On the verge of losing her identity completely, Carmen grows increasingly numb to the mundane nature of bourgeois delight. She slowly internalizes the misogyny and political unrest that have made her an increasingly sedentary fixture in her household and decides to stand boldly against the government-mandated cruelty, attempting to further assist the helpless young man.
“Chile 1976” – the title by which the film will be released in North America – “explores political and social issues that remain quite relevant today, and though set in Pinochet’s Chile, we think Carmen’s journey into dangerous waters will resonate with North American audiences,” Lidell added.
Courtesy of Luxbox Films/Kino Lorber
Senior VP for Kino Lorber, Lidell, and Jennyfer Gautier, head of international sales at Luxbox, brokered the deal, placing the film in prime arthouse territory, alongside Yorgos Lanthimos psychological drama, “Dogtooth,” and Joel and Ethan Cohen’s “Barton Fink,” all acquired by Kino Lorber.
The company, which boasts a catalog of over 4,000 titles, recently launched Kino Cult, an AVOD channel focusing on new and rare acclaimed genre films. Additionally, they handle releases in ancillary media for Zeitgeist Films, Milestone Films, Cohen Media Group, Greenwich Entertainment, Artsploitation, Palisades Tartan, Menemsha Films, and Raro Video.
Martelli is a Chilean filmmaker who gained her industry start as an actress starring in Andrés Wood’s “Machuca” and Alicia Scherson’s “Il Futuro.” Her first short film as a director was “Apnea,” produced by Sotomayor for Cinestación, which documents the tender but class-tainted relationship between young Claire (Rebeca Sandler) and her Ecuadorian nanny, María (Ximena Mieles). She was also selected to co-direct the short film “Land Tides” with Amirah Tadjin, which features the haunting island of Chiloé as the backdrop of discovery for a heartbroken Santiago teenager.
“1976,” a Cannes buzz title, garnered three top awards at the Toulouse Latin American Festival’s Films in Progress, including the pix-in-post competition’s Grand Prix and Cine Plus Award from Canal Plus. Kino Lorber plans on a winter release.
On the high-potential of this acquisition, Martelli relayed, “I am glad that ‘1976’ will be part of a catalog along with other important films that have influenced me. Kino Lorber is an amazing partner to reach North American audiences and to have the film be seen as much as possible.”
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