KINO LORBER FILMS ACQUIRES NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS TO SUNDANCE BEST ACTOR WINNER ‘LUZZU’

KINO LORBER FILMS ACQUIRES NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS TO SUNDANCE BEST ACTOR WINNER ‘LUZZU’

MEMENTO INTERNATIONAL SECURES NORTH AMERICAN AND MULTIPLE INTERNATIONAL DEALS INCLUDING MAJOR TERRITORIES UK, FRANCE AFTER STRONG PRESS RECEPTION IN SUNDANCE

NEW YORK, NY (MARCH 2, 2021) - KINO LORBER announced today that it is acquiring North American rights to LUZZU, written, directed and edited by emerging talent Alex Camilleri. The film stars professional and non-professional actors, with Jesmark Scicluna earning the Special Jury Award for Best Actor in this year’s Sundance Film Festival. LUZZU premiered in the International Competition in Sundance, and Kino Lorber will be releasing the film later this year.

Jesmark, a Maltese fisherman, contends with a newfound leak in his wooden luzzu boat. Barely getting by, he sees his livelihood—and a family tradition from generations before him—imperiled by diminishing harvests, a ruthless fishing industry, and a stagnating ecosystem. Desperate to provide for his wife and their newborn son, whose growth impediment requires treatment, Jesmark gradually slips into an illicit black-market fishing operation.

Memento International secured a range of key deals in main territories and all around the world including UK (Peccadillo), France (Epicentre), China (Hugoeast), Spain (Wanda), Scandinavia (Edge), Portugal (Legendmain), Greece (Weirdwave), Former Yugoslavia (Kino Mediteran), Eastern Europe (HBO)

Critics gave a very warm welcome to LUZZU after its premiere in Sundance. Indiewire calling the film a “locally made vérité tale discovers a knockout performance in a real-life fisherman from Malta.” Screen Daily celebrated an “impressive feature debut”, and Screen Anarchy “A poignant and deeply touching tale of humanity. (...) Look for this one to be in the conversation for Best International Feature a year from now”.

Kino Lorber SVP, Wendy Lidell said “Nothing is more exciting than to see the emergence of a new filmmaking talent, and I suspect LUZZU is just the first of many great things to come from Alex Camilleri.  LUZZU shimmers with a heart and humanity that is reminiscent of the Dardenne brothers and Vittorio De Sica, awash with the beautiful colors of the Maltese seaside and telling a universal story that will touch anyone who sees it.”

Director Alex Camilleri said, "I’m thrilled to partner with Kino Lorber, who consistently brings the best of world cinema to the U.S. It’s been incredibly gratifying to see the response to LUZZU — while the setting of Malta is unique, the theme of weighing tradition against survival is universal. I can’t wait for audiences to connect with our phenomenal cast and the rich world of Malta's fishermen.

Camilleri is a Maltese-American filmmaker. He is an alum of both the Sundance and Film Independent labs. LUZZU is his first feature film. His previous work includes as a film editor, KEEP THE CHANGE (Best Film & Best Director, Tribeca 2017 and released by Kino Lorber in 2018) and BLOOD KIN (Venice 2018, Sconfini). Camilleri has worked closely with acclaimed filmmaker Ramin Bahrani for over a decade, including as an Associate Editor on Bahrani’s 99 HOMES. 

Filming took place in Malta and was made with the support of Screen Malta and the financial incentives provided by the Malta Film Commission and the Government of Malta. Producers are Rebecca Anastasi, Ramin Bahrani (The White Tiger, 99 Homes), Alex Camilleri and Oliver Mallia.

The North American deal was negotiated by Lidell for Kino Lorber and Mathieu Delaunay Head of Sales of Memento International on behalf of the filmmakers.