Sale of the TIFF and BFI London Prize Winner Handled by Participant and WME Independent
Debut Feature by Mounia Akl Tells an Intergenerational Family Story Starring Nadine Labaki and Saleh Bakri
"A terrific feature debut from Mounia Akl which works both as a compelling domestic drama and an elegant political allegory."
– Wendy Ide, Screen
"A heartfelt charmer. The gentle wisdom it contains is attuned to country, family and lifestyle choices as abstract concepts, as all the things we mean by the word "home," which is where Akl's heart is."
– Jessica Kiang, Variety
"A stellar near-future family drama. Mounia Akl's feature début comfortably occupies a space between Beasts of the Southern Wild and Honeyland. Her film is partly magical, partly real, but total fiction, because fiction is the best way to capture the tragicomic clown show that unfolds throughout."
– Andrew Crump, The Playlist
New York, NY – June 7, 2022 – Kino Lorber announced that it has acquired North American theatrical and other rights to Mounia Akl's directorial debut Costa Brava, Lebanon, a keen and darkly comic commentary on Lebanon's waste crisis and unsettled political landscape. Kino Lorber is planning a theatrical release on July 15.
Costa Brava, Lebanon made its World Premiere at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, going on to collect the prestigious NETPAC Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the BFI London Film Festival. Co-written by Akl and Clara Roquet, the film was the first feature in the Arab region to implement green measures on set, with sustainability measures created around recycling, water and electricity conservation, and reduced waste and carbon emissions with a goal of creating a protocol for future productions in the region. Costa Brava, Lebanon stars Nadine Labaki, Saleh Bakri, Nadia Charbel, Liliane Chacar Khoury, and Geana and Ceana Restom, and is produced by Myriam Sassine and Georges Schoucair for Abbout Productions.
In Costa Brava, Lebanon, the free-spirited Badri family escape the toxic pollution and social unrest of Beirut by seeking refuge in a utopic mountain home they've devoted years to building for themselves. Unexpectedly, the government begins construction on a garbage landfill right outside their fence, bringing the trash and corruption of a whole country to their doorstep. As the landfill rises, so do family tensions, and the Badris are left with a choice: stay off the grid and stay true to their ideals, or leave their idyllic home and face the reality they fled.
The deal for Costa Brava, Lebanon was negotiated by Kino Lorber Senior Vice President Wendy Lidell, Rob Williams from Participant, and WME Independent on on behalf of the filmmakers. mk2 films is handling international sales.
"Costa Brava, Lebanon captures the joys and frustrations of a close-knit family with an intimacy that feels startlingly natural, and sets it against a sharply drawn backdrop of environmental protest and pollution. Though it is her first feature film, Mounia Akl's gift with actors is evident in the sensitively realized performances she elicits from her cast, which includes fellow actress and award-winning filmmaker Nadine Labaki. We couldn't be more thrilled to bring Mounia's debut to North American audiences," said Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell.
"I am so honored that my first feature, Costa Brava, Lebanon, has found a home with Kino Lorber in the US," added director Mounia Akl. "Kino Lorber's love for cinema is contagious and has allowed me to truly discover films and filmmakers throughout the years. I am humbled to bring a piece of our home to the US."
"Mounia Akl is an exciting new voice, who readily captures both the specificity and universality of the Badri family's story in order to bring to light the important issue of environmental justice," said David Linde, CEO of Participant. "We are excited to work with Kino Lorber to share this important work with theatrical audiences."
Costa Brava, Lebanon is a Lebanese, French, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian co-production. The film is executive produced by Jeff Skoll, Anikah McLaren, Fouad Mikati, Candice Abela Mikati, Karam Abulhusn, Monique Dib, Lara El Khoury, Elie Tabet and Harriet Harper Jones, and produced by Abbout Productions. Co-producers are Cinema Defacto, Lastor Media, Fox in the Snow Films, Snowglobe, Barentsfilm, Gaïjin and Boo Pictures.
About Mounia Akl
Mounia Akl is a director and writer from Lebanon living between Beirut and New York. She holds a bachelor's degree in Architecture from ALBA and an MFA in Directing from Columbia University and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®.
Her first feature film, Costa Brava, Lebanon (Sundance Labs, Cannes Residency), premiered in 2021 at the Venice Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival (NETPAC Award) and BFI London Film Festival (Audience Award) amongst others. It was inspired by her short film Submarine (Official selection at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, Cinefondation, TIFF 2016).
Apart from directing, Mounia was also a preceptor in Directing at Columbia University, New York, and directing faculty at the film summer institute at Northwestern University, Chicago. Mounia is currently developing new projects (TV and Film) between Paris, Beirut and LA where she also was recently a Ted Talk Women speaker.
Founded by Chairman Jeff Skoll and under the leadership of CEO David Linde, Participant (www.participant.com) combines the power of a good story well told with real world impact and awareness around today's most vital issues. Through its worldwide
network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant speaks directly to the rise of today's "conscious consumer," representing the well over 2 billion consumers compelled to make meaningful content a priority focus.
As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, six documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 20 hours of digital short form programming. Participant's more than 100 films have collectively earned 85 Academy Award® nominations and 21 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight and Green Book; Best Documentary Feature for An Inconvenient Truth, CITIZENFOUR, The Cove and American Factory; and Best Foreign Language Film for Roma and A Fantastic Woman. Participant also has earned 44 EMMY® Award nominations and 11 wins, including two wins for the groundbreaking When They See Us. Follow Participant on Twitter (@Participant) and on Facebook and Instagram.
About mk2 films
Every year, mk2 films co-produces, sells and distributes a dozen new films by established or upcoming directors such as The Worst Person in the World, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Cold War, Atlantics and Ash is Purest White. mk2 films distributes a unique library of 800 films in France and around the world, including both fiction and documentaries. A rich collection which includes films from Charles Chaplin, François Truffaut, Abbas Kiarostami, Agnès Varda, Jacques Demy, Krzysztof Kieślowski, David Lynch, Michael Haneke, Gus Van Sant, Alain Resnais, Claude Chabrol, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Olivier Assayas - to name but a few. The whole film collection also accounts for some of the major films of the history of cinema and a large number of classic films restored in 2K, 4K and 4K UHD TM : from the very pioneers of the industry, such as D.W. Griffith and Alice Guy-Blaché, to Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, Buster Keaton and up to today's most acclaimed directors such as Jia Zhang-Ke, Joachim Trier, Céline Sciamma, Pawel Pawlowski, Xavier Dolan and Mati Diop. More about mk2 films at mk2films.com and on social media: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.