Heretic has closed a raft of deals on Sundance prize-winning documentary “And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine,” with Picturehouse Entertainment acquiring U.K. rights ahead of the film’s European premiere in the Generation 14plus strand at the Berlin Film Festival.
The Athens-based outfit also closed deals for Italy (Teodora Film), Benelux, (September Film), Poland (Against Gravity) and Czech Republic, where the rights were sold to arthouse distributor Aerofilms and the newly launched streaming platform KVIFF.TV, both part of the KVIFF Group, a media conglomerate built around the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. It’s the first title acquired under the new partnership.
“Fantastic Machine” will also be distributed on HBO channels and HBO Max in Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia. The film, which had its world premiere at Sundance in the World Cinema Documentary section, won the festival’s Special Jury Award for Creative Vision.
The debut feature from directors Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck, whose 2016 short “Ten Meter Tower” was in competition at Sundance and Berlin, “Fantastic Machine” is a thought-provoking examination of humanity’s infatuation with itself, and with framing the world through the camera’s lens.
The filmmakers explore how humankind’s obsession with image has grown to change our behavior, look at the societal consequences stemming from the image output of 45 billion cameras on the planet, and ask how humanity went from the image of a backyard to a multi-billion-euro content industry in 200 years.
“We are so excited to be working on this film. It is such a thrilling ride, which as well as being incredibly exciting throws up lots of important questions about where we have come from with our consumption of images and where we are now,” said Picturehouse Entertainment’s Clare Binns. “We are totally passionate about documentaries at Picturehouse Entertainment, and having this wonderful film on our slate continues our great work with documentary filmmakers with unique visions and fascinating ideas.”
“A captivating and provocative work on the ambiguity of images, with a huge amount of well-chosen archive footage,” added Teodora Film’s Stefano Finesi. “In an ideal world, it would be screened in all schools. We are so thrilled to work with these talented filmmakers and the passion and dedication of the Heretic team.”
“Fantastic Machine” is produced by Plattform Produktion (Sweden) and co-produced with SVT, (Sweden), Film i Väst and Bullitt Film (Denmark), along with the support of Svenska Filminstitutet, Danish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Arte G.E.I.E., Swedish Arts Council, Göteborg Municipality and See-Through Films.
“We are thrilled that the film is resonating with so many different territories,” said Danielson and Van Aertryck. “We hope its message supporting ‘image literacy’ will strike a chord with all audiences. We are grateful to Ioanna Stais and the Heretic team for championing our film sales with such dedication.”
Heretic’s EFM slate includes Palestinian filmmaker Muayad Alayan’s “A House in Jerusalem,” which recently had its world premiere at the Rotterdam Intl. Film Festival; Yorgos Goussis’ “Magnetic Fields,” which was Greece’s official selection for this year’s international feature film Oscar race; Valentina Maurel’s debut “I Have Electric Dreams,” which won three awards at Locarno and the top prize of the Horizontes Latinos section of San Sebastian; and Toronto-premiered “Runner” by Marian Mathias, which won the Jury Prize Award at San Sebastian.