Rome-based indie distributor Intramovies has snapped up international sales rights to Locarno contender “Nightsiren” (“Svetlonoc”) by Tereza Nvotovà.
The Slovakia-Czech Republic production turns on a young woman who returns to her remote mountain home to seek answers about her traumatized childhood. The deeply superstitious villagers turn on her, accusing her of witchcraft and murder.
As Nvotová, who co-wrote the screenplay with Barbara Namerová, explains in her statement, “Nightsiren” “seeks to dispel outdated myths surrounding womanhood, drawing a line between ancient misogynist superstitions and their resurgence in the modern world.”
“Even though women are no longer being burned at the stake, they’re still targeted for their sexuality, emotionality and reproductive choices. Only the label has changed, from ‘witch’ to ‘slut.’ ‘Nightsiren’ talks about the value of freedom if we refuse to go down the conventional path,” she asserts.
World premiering Aug. 12 in Locarno, “Nightsiren” vies for the top prize in festival sidebar Cineasti del Presente, which spotlights debut and second features by emerging international filmmakers.
“We were immediately attracted by Tereza’s talent and incredible ability to create an atmosphere where ancient beliefs overcome common sense, blending present and past in the life of a young modern woman trying to come to grips with a troubled childhood,” said Marco Valerio Fusco, head of acquisitions & production at Intramovies, which has made it its mission to support promising new filmmakers throughout its nearly 50-year history.
The “Nightsiren” cast is led by Natália Germán who plays the main character Šarlota along with Eva Mores, Juliána Brutovská and Iva Bittová.
Nvotová, whose award-winning 2017 debut feature “Filthy” premiered at IFF Rotterdam, has also made docs for HBO Europe, with her latest, “The Lust for Power,” drawing critical acclaim. She is developing her third feature “Father” as well as miniseries “Convictions.”
The supernatural drama was developed at the Independent Film Foundation’s ScripTeast and presented at co-production forums MIA in Rome, Agora Crossroads in Thessaloniki and at TIFF59 and the Frontières Finance & Packaging Forum.
Co-produced by Bfilm (Slovakia), Moloko Film (Czech Republic) and RTVS (Radio and Television of Slovakia), it received support from the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, the Czech Film Fund and Eurimages.
The 75th Locarno Film Festival runs Aug. 3-13.