Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber Acquire US Rights to Murakami Adaptation 'Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman'
Zeitgeist Films in association with Kino Lorber, two of the leading distribution companies for art-house and international films in the U.S., announced that they have acquired all US rights to the animated feature Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman from The Match Factory. The feature debut of composer Pierre Földes, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman will open theatrically at Film Forum in New York in April 2023 before expanding nationwide.
Based on several short stories by the internationally renowned Japanese author Haruki Murakami (Drive My Car, Norwegian Wood), Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman won the Jury Special Mention Award at Annecy International Festival and has played extensively on the international film festival circuit, including bows at the Toronto International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Busan International Film Festival. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is produced by Cinéma Defacto’s Tom Dercourt, Pierre Baussaron, and Emmanuel-Alain Raynal.
Utilizing an elegantly surreal hybrid animation style that incorporates live-action references, 3D modeling, and traditional layouts, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman begins in Tokyo just days after the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Aided by a lost cat and a loquacious giant frog, an unambitious salesman, his frustrated wife and a schizophrenic accountant are called upon to save their city from obliteration and find meaning in their lives.
“We’d never seen a film quite like Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman,” said Zeitgeist Co-Presidents Emily Russo and Nancy Gerstman. “It is sure to appeal to the wide range of Murakami fans and hopefully anyone who wants to take a wild and imaginative ride into a world that seems oddly no stranger than our own.”
Filmmaker Pierre Földes added, “I’m very happy to have Zeitgeist and Kino Lorber work hand in hand for the US release of my film Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, a feature animation based on stories by Haruki Murakami. Zeitgeist’s profile based on their 200+ films seems like the perfect match. So many of the films they have distributed I love, so it’s great to bring the film with them to the US Market. I hope it inspires many the same way I was inspired writing and making it.”
Co-Presidents Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo negotiated the deal with The Match Factory’s Laura Nacher.
About Zeitgeist Films
Zeitgeist Films is a New York-based distribution company founded in 1988 which acquires and distributes the finest independent films from the U.S. and around the world. In 2017, Zeitgeist entered into a multi-year strategic alliance with renowned film distributor Kino Lorber.
Zeitgeist has distributed early films by such notable directors as Todd Haynes, Christopher Nolan, Francois Ozon, Olivier Assayas, Laura Poitras, Atom Egoyan and the Quay Brothers. Their catalog includes films from the world's most outstanding filmmakers including Margerethe Von Trotta, Ken Loach, Guy Maddin, Derek Jarman, Peter Greenaway, Yvonne Rainer, Andrei Zyvagintsev, Astra Taylor and Raoul Peck. Previous Zeitgeist Films releases in association with Kino Lorber include Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You, Connie Hochman’s In Balanchine’s Classroom, Blerta Basholli’s Hive, Daniel Raim’s Fiddler’s Journey To The Big Screen, and most recently Eva Vitija’s Loving Highsmith.
Five Zeitgeist films have been nominated for Academy Awards and one, Nowhere in Africa, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Their films have been honored by festivals throughout the world with Grand Prizes at Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, Tribeca, and IDFA in Amsterdam. The Museum of Modern Art honored Zeitgeist with a month-long, 20th anniversary retrospective of their films in 2008.