M-Appeal has acquired world sales rights to Michal Vinik’s “Valeria Is Getting Married,” which focuses on two Ukrainian sisters, one already living in Israel, having entered a marriage arranged online, and the another considering doing the same.
The film marks the second collaboration between the German sales outfit and the Tel Aviv-based director, following her debut feature film “Barash.” It is the third time M-Appeal has teamed with Israeli production company Lama Films, following their partnership on “Barash” and “Working Woman.”
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Maren Kroymann, M-Appeal’s managing director, said: “We are very excited to continue our collaboration with Michal, whose films are entertaining, accessible, and feminist in how they address important subjects. In ‘Valeria,’ she deconstructs widely spread preconceptions and prejudices about Ukrainian women, which have become much more visible now as so many women are fleeing the war.”
Set over the course of one day, the film focuses on the relationship between Valeria (Dasha Tvoronovich) and her older sister Christina (Lena Fraifeld). Valeria is a bride who arrives in Israel to meet her future husband, for an arranged marriage brokered online. She joins Christina, who has been living in Israel for some time and met her own husband through a similar arrangement. Christina is happy with her new life and wants the same for her sister, but over the course of the day doubts begin to appear.
The film was shot before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, so the war does not feature in the story; its focus instead is on the characters, as well as broader issues, such as gender and economic inequality, as well as the specific topic of marriages that have been arranged online.
Vinik said: “I am interested in how these relationships serve as a mirror for all committed relationships between any two people, whether married or not. The arrangement between a Ukrainian bride and an Israeli groom may fall on the extreme end of the relationship scale, but at the core of many relationships, there is a component that creates a hierarchy or imbalance.”
“Valeria” was part of the First Cut+ program last year. Vinik’s first feature film “Barash” premiered at San Sebastian in 2015 and became both a festivals and sales hit; the film travelled to more than 90 festivals worldwide, received 10 awards, and sold in 26 territories. Vinik also co-wrote the screenplay for “Working Woman” (2018), directed by Michal Aviad.
“Valeria Is Getting Married” is produced by Ayelet Kait and Amir Harel at Lama Films. It is co-produced by Vladimir and Anna Yatsenko at Ukraine’s ForeFilms, which previously coproduced “Reflection” (2021) and “Atlantis” (2019).
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