Kino Lorber has acquired North American rights to first-time Lebanese director Mounia Akl’s timely drama “Costa Brava, Lebanon,” which launched positively last year from Venice.
“Costa Brava” provides an acerbic take on Lebanon’s waste management crisis and its turbulent political landscape and combines the country’s strife with the global climate crisis.
The darkly comic drama pairs Oscar-nominated Lebanese star and filmmaker Nadine Labaki (“Capernaum”) and Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri (“The Band’s Visit”) as a couple who has moved from Beirut to live idyllically in the mountains, until one day the government decides to build a garbage landfill right beside their house.
After bowing from Venice “Costa Brava” segued to the Toronto and London fests, where it won prizes.
The pic’s production team boasts about it being the first feature in the Arab region to implement green measures on set, with strict sustainability protocols about recycling, water use, electricity conservation, and reduced waste and carbon emissions. Their goal being to create a green production protocol for future productions in the region.
Co-written by Akl and Clara Roquet, “Costa Brava” is lead-produced by Myriam Sassine and Georges Schoucair for Beirut-based Abbout Productions.
The North-America deal for “Costa Brava” was negotiated by Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell with Rob Williams from Participant, and also WME Independent on behalf of the filmmakers. France’s mk2 films is handling international sales outside the U.S.
“’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,” Lidell said in a statement.
“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,” she added.
“I am so honored that my first feature, “Costa Brava, Lebanon,” has found a home with Kino Lorber in the U.S.,” said 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 U.S.,” she added.
“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, which boarded the project shortly before cameras rolled, helping to close a gap in the budget.
“Costa Brava,” 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.
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