NEON announced today it has made the first acquisition of Sundance with Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flee and that David Oyelowo will serve as an executive producer on Night of the Kings.
NEON has acquired North American rights to Flee, executive produced by Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, was officially selected for Cannes 2020 and made its debut on opening night of Sundance in the World Documentary Competition to rave reviews and critical acclaim for both its intimate story and unique approach.
Rasmussen’s feature film debut Searching for Bill, a mix of documentary and fiction, won him the Nordic Dox award at CPH:DOX, and the international competition prize at DocAviv.
Flee, a film unbound by documentary constraints and swept up in an astonishing array of archive footage, ’80s pop music, and a hand-drawn craft that brings audiences directly into the experience of a teen fleeing multiple countries – and the psychological impact on how he loves, trusts, and understands his burgeoning identity.
Rasmussen weaves together a stunning tapestry of images in a triumph of storytelling and filmmaking ingenuity to tell a deeply affecting story of a man grappling with his traumatic past in order to find his true self and the real meaning of home.
The film tells the story of Amin Nawabi (a pseudonym) as he grapples with a painful secret he has kept hidden for 20 years, one that threatens to derail the life he has built for himself and his soon to be husband. Recounted mostly through animation to director Jonas Poher Rasmussen – his close friend and high-school classmate, he tells for the first time the story of his extraordinary journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan.
Through heartfelt interviews between Jonas and Amin, Flee tells an unforgettable story of self-discovery.
Flee is produced by Final Cut for Real, in co-production with animation studio Sun Creature, Denmark, Vivement Lundi!, France, MostFilm, Sweden, and Mer Film, Norway. ARTE France and Vpro, Nederland. The film is supported and produced in association with VICE Studios and RYOT Films and Ahmed’s Left Handed Films.
“Very excited to work with groundbreaking distributors NEON on getting Flee out. Their roster of titles include a vast amount of my favourite films from the last couple of years and I’m extremely proud to now include my own work on that list, said” Jonas Poher Rasmussen.
Executive producer Riz Ahmed said, “I was floored by the emotional impact of Flee. This is a unique project that pushes forward our ideas of what documentary, animation, and refugee-centred narratives can be. I’m proud to help bring this project to life for English speaking audiences,”
Executive producer Coster-Waldau also remarked, “When I watched Flee I was blown away by the power of a story told in a simple way. Flee is a story of extreme perseverance and hope where all hope seems lost. By using animation director Jonas Poher Rasmussen captures the intensity of one refugee’s unbelievable journey from the streets of Kabul to the Danish suburbia. Because Amin is able to tell his story hidden behind his animated avatar it feels so much more revealing and honest than had it been a standard filmed interview. I am incredibly proud to be a part of Flee and will encourage everyone to experience this gem of a film.”
NIGHT OF THE KINGS
NEON also announced today that multiple Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Emmy-nominated actor and producer David Oyelowo will serve as an executive producer on Philippe Lacôte’s sophomore feature, Night of the Kings, the Ivory Coast submission for this year’s Academy Awards.
The film, which premiered as an Official Selection at the Venice, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, has earned critical acclaim and has recently been recognized by the National Board of Review in its Top 5 Foreign Language Films, and was also nominated for a Spirit Award for Best International Film. Night of the Kings will be premiering at Sundance later this week.
Oyelowo commented, “Night of the Kings is a magnificent showcase of African cinema, artistry, culture, folklore and myth. Philippe Lacôte and his talented cast have forged a tale that defies definition by telling us a story within a story within Ivorian history. To be a part of bringing this film to its audience is a profound honor for me.”
Night of the Kings follows a young man on his first night in the infamous Ivorian prison, “La Maca.” Upon arriving, he is christened the “Roman,” or “Storyteller,” and must entertain his audience until morning, risking death should he fail. Under a blood-red moon, he crafts a tale weaving together the country’s mythological past and recent history, while around him, prison politics threaten to boil over.
Lacôte wrote and directed the film, which stars Koné Bakary, Steve Tientcheu, Rasmane Ouedraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Abdoul Karim Konate, Anzian Marcel, Laetitia Ky and Denis Lavant.
It’s produced by Delphine Jaquet, Yanick Letourneau, Ernest Konan, Yoro Mbaye and Banshee Films, Wassakara Productions, Peripheria, and Yennenga Productions.