TV & Movies

Wild Bunch International Takes World Rights to Venice-Bound Mama, Im Home (EXCLUSIVE)

Wild Bunch International has acquired world sales rights to Vladimir Bitokov’s “Mama, I’m Home,” which will have its world premiere next month in the Horizons section of the Venice Film Festival, Variety can reveal.

Bitokov’s second feature, which follows his 2018 Karlovy Vary premiere “Deep Rivers,” is a Non-Stop Production and AR Content film produced by two-time Academy Award nominee Alexander Rodnyansky (“Loveless,” “Leviathan”) and Sergey Melkumov. It was written by Maria Izyumova and stars Kseniya Rappoport, Yura Borisov, Ekaterina Shumakova, Alexander Gorchilin, Natalia Pavlenkova, Darren Kushkhov, Mazhit Zhanguzarov and Valeriy Balkizov.

“Mama, I’m Home” is the story of a bus driver, Tonya, who lives in a village on the outskirts of Nalchik, a modest city in the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. Together with her daughter, Tonya eagerly awaits the return of her only son, who is fighting for a private military contractor in Syria. When Tonya is told that he’s been killed in action, she refuses to believe it and begins a grueling public battle with the contractor and the authorities, demanding his return. When all efforts to silence her prove fruitless, a strange young man arrives on her doorstep.

The film is the latest collaboration between Rodnyansky and Melkumov, whose last feature, “Unclenching the Fists,” from rising Russian filmmaker Kira Kovalenko, won the Grand Prize in Un Certain Regard this year in Cannes, where they also debuted Ari Folman’s “Where Is Anne Frank” Out of Competition. The duo were also behind Kantemir Balagov’s 2019 Un Certain Regard prize winner “Beanpole.” Wild Bunch International handled sales on all three titles.

Bitokov is a graduate of the directing workshop founded by Alexander Sokurov, the celebrated Russian director of “Russian Ark” and Venice Golden Lion winner “Faust,” which also produced Balagov and Kovalenko.

The WBI slate in Cannes this year included Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or winner “Titane”; Ari Folman’s animated title “Where Is Anne Frank”; Justin Kurzel’s “Nitram,” starring Cannes best actor prize winner Caleb Landry Jones; and Sean Penn’s “Flag Day.”

Rodnyansky’s upcoming production slate includes Balagov’s first English-language film, “Monica,” as well as “What Happens,” the first English-language film from Andrey Zyvagintsev (“Leviathan,” “Loveless”). The producer will also be partnering with Steven Soderbergh on Godfrey Reggio’s upcoming documentary “Neooonoww” and recently inked a deal with Apple TV Plus for a slate of both Russian-language and multilingual shows.

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