Strand Releasing Takes North American Rights to Tender Teen Drama ‘Young Hearts’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Strand Releasing has acquired North American rights from sales company Films Boutique to tender coming-of-age drama “Young Hearts” by Belgian newcomer Anthony Schatteman, which recently launched from the Berlin Film Festival.

Schatteman’s standout debut follows a 13-year-old boy named Elias, who feels drawn to his new neighbor, Alexander, and must overcome his conflicted feelings about being attracted to another boy. “Young Hearts” won a special mention in the Generation Kplus section of the Berlinale in February and has now been selected by Cannes Écran Junior, the Cannes Film Festival sidebar section showcasing films for all audiences that have a specific cultural and educational value for younger viewers.

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The film will soon have its North American premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival in May.

“Casting directors take note: Lou Goossens [who plays Elias] in this first feature film role is an actor to watch out for,” wrote Variety critic Catherine Bray in her “Young Hearts” review, praising the film’s lead for being “naturalistic and able to convey subtle shades of inner turmoil, despite his young age.” Alexander is played by Marius De Saeger, who also delivers a notable performance in his debut.

The North America deal for “Young Hearts” was inked between Jon Gerrans of Strand Releasing and Jean Christophe Simon of Films Boutique.

“’Young Hearts’ is such a charming, heart-warming film, one that will resonate with audiences here in the states,” Gerrans said in a statement. “We look forward to a robust festival and theatrical life in North America.”

Strand is planning a fall theatrical release for the film.

Added Simon, “Strand Releasing is a wonderful partner for the film and we have been very touched by their passion and excited by their ambitious plans.”

“After already making successful sales around the globe, the North American deal is the cherry on top,” Schatteman said. “I am so excited to share this story with American audiences and can’t wait for them to fall in love with Elias and Alexander.”

“Young Hearts” was co-produced by Belgium’s Polar Bear and Kwassa Films and Family Affair Films of The Netherlands.

Current films on release via Strand in North America include Pierre Creton’s “A Prince,” which world premiered last year at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight; Margreth Olin’s potent doc “Songs of Earth”; and Daishi Matsunaga’s gay melodrama “Egoist.”

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