Square Eyes Acquires Locarno Critics’ Week Opener ‘A Thousand Fires’ (EXCLUSIVE)

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Vienna-based sales outfit Square Eyes has acquired Saeed Taji Farouky’s “A Thousand Fires,” which will open the Locarno Film Festival’s Critics’ Week section.

Set in the Magway region of Myanmar, which is home to one of the oldest oil industries in the world, “A Thousand Fires” is a portrait of a family in flux and a story of intergenerational conflict and compromise. It follows Thein Shwe and Htwe Tin, a husband and wife who run an unregulated oil field, producing a barrel every few days in the hopes of seeing their youngest son succeed and breaking the cycle of poverty.

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“When I first met Thein Shwe, he immediately reminded me of my own father, and I instinctively knew I wanted to make a film with him and his family,” said Farouky, whose documentary feature “Tell Spring Not to Come This Year” won the Panorama Audience Award and the Amnesty International Film Prize after its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015.

“In early 2021 the Burmese military staged a violent coup and the cities and villages I had come to love became the scenes of massacres and torture,” Farouky continued. “My people in Palestine, too, experienced a surge in violence, and the film became a shared expression of solidarity between Burma and Palestine. Finally, it is a testament to the enduring love of family, the dignity of work, and the unending resilience of people fighting for liberation.”

“A Thousand Fires” is produced by Estelle Robin You for Point du Jour – Les Films du Balibari (France), Palmyre Badinier for AKKA Films (Switzerland) and Joram Willink for BIND (Netherlands), with May Odeh as associate producer.

“‘A Thousand Fires’ beautifully frames a personal family narrative in relation to wider contexts of work and environment, balancing struggle and the corporeal against potential and hope,” said Square Eyes founder Wouter Jansen. “It’s an intimate and humane observation that fits our sensibilities at Square Eyes perfectly.”

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