01. September 2016

Munich, 1 September 2016. Beta Cinema is heading to the Toronto International Film Festival with a powerful sales slate and five titles in official selection. LAYLA M. by Mijke de Jong, BLESSED BENEFIT by Mahmoud al Massad, CLAIR OBSCUR by Yeşim Ustaoğlu  and THE DAY MY FATHER BECAME A BUSH by Nicole van Kilsdonk are four brand new acquisitions that will each celebrate their World Premiere at TIFF, while this year’s Sundance-winner and festival darling SAND STORM by Elite Zexer rounds out a distinctly international lineup, featuring films from The Netherlands, Jordan, Turkey and Israel and showcasing a number of multi-award-winning female directors.

Entering the prestigious competition section “Platform”, with the jury composed of Brian de Palma, Zhang Ziyi and Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, is the acutely topical Dutch/Arabic/Moroccan drama LAYLA M. by acclaimed director Mijke de Jong (Berlinale Crystal Bear-winning BLUEBIRD, TIFF-2008 entry KATIA’S SISTER). 18-year-old Layla, a Dutch girl with Moroccan roots, joins a group of radical Muslims. She encounters a world that provides a sense of identity and nurtures her ideas initially, but finally confronts her with an impossible choice. LAYLA M. is produced by Topkapi Films, Menuet, Chromosom Film, Schiwago Film, and NTR and will also receive a celebrated European Premiere in competition at the BFI London Film Festival in October.

A TIFF “Discovery” is the dark comedy BLESSED BENEFIT by Jordan’s Mahmoud al Massad (Sundance-awarded RECYCLE), whose project was selected for the Cannes Film Festival’s program L’Atelier (2012) and awarded Best Screenplay at the Dubai Film Festival. Imprisoned on an unfair charge of fraud, a mild-mannered Jordanian contractor discovers that prison has its own rhythms, rules, and economies— and he soon begins to carve out a position for himself in this place where fraud isn’t a crime so much as a way of life. BLESSED BENEFIT is a Jordanian, German, Dutch coproduction of Twenty Twenty Vision, Jo Image, Habbekrats and Isee.

“Contemporary World Cinema” presents CLAIR OBSCUR by multi-awarded Turkish filmmaker Yesim Ustaoglu, whose latest film ARAF-SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN won in Abu Dhabi, Moscow, and Tokyo whereas her film PANDORA’S BOX snatched Best Film/Best Actress awards at San Sebastian. The film shot by DoP Michael Hammon (STOPPED ON TRACK) is a sensual, psychological dance of two women who are deprived of their right to discover themselves and to love and be loved in a relationship of their choosing. CLAIR OBSCUR is produced by Ustaoglu Film, unafilm, Slot Machine, Aeroplan Film, and ZdF/arte.

“TIFF KIDS” features THE DAY MY FATHER BECAME A BUSH, based on the international bestseller by award-winning author Joke van Leeuwen. After her father is unexpectedly called away to defend his country, ten-year-old Toda has to start an adventurous and challenging journey abroad to find her mother. Dutch filmmaker Nicole van Kilsdonk won the Audience Award at the prestigious Giffoni Festival, producers of the film are Lemming Film, Nukleus Film, A Private View, and Minds Meet.

Elite Zexer’s SAND STORM, nominated for twelve Israeli Academy Awards (including Best Film and Best Director) and produced by 2-team Productions, adds TIFF to its impressive festival lineup, including Berlinale, Karlovy Vary, and Shanghai and others. The drama about two Bedouin women has been praised by international media and won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Festival.

Other prominent titles on Beta Cinema’s TIFF slate include the upcoming works by multiple award-winning directors such as Florian Henkel von Donnersmark’s WORK WITHOUT AUTHOR (WT), Agnieszka Holland’s GAME COUNT, Stefan Ruzowitzky’s HELL (WT), Calin Peter Netzer’s ANA, MON AMOUR and Erik Poppe’s THE KING’S CHOICE, as well as the Locarno Special Jury Award-winner SCARRED HEARTS by Radu Jude and Christophe van Rompaey’s Piazza Grande crowd-pleaser VINCENT AND THE END OF THE WORLD.


For further information:
Beta Cinema Press
Dorothee Stoewahse
Tel: + 49 89 63 84 627

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