“The Metamorphosis of Birds,” which premiered in the Encounters sidebar of the Berlin Film Festival and won the FIPRESCI prize from the international critics’ jury, has been sold in multiple major territories, including the U.S., the U.K., China, Italy and Spain.
Portuguese director Catarina Vasconcelos’ “beautifully pensive, lyrical debut feature,” in the words of the Variety review, explores her family stories in the form of a fictionalized documentary. (Read our interview with the director here and the review here.)
The film’s distribution rights went to Grasshopper in the U.S., Acéphale in Canada, Huanxi Media Group in China, Robert Beeson’s New Wave Films in the U.K. and Ireland, Atalante Cinema in Spain, Risi Film in Italy, and Kino Pavasaris Distribution in Lithuania. International sales are handled by Portugal Film.
The film screened at more than 50 festivals, winning the Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Award at San Sebastian, the best film award at Vilnius, Taipei’s Special Jury Prize, and the best feature film and audience awards at New Horizons, which will distribute the film in Poland.
The film starts with her grandmother Beatriz. She married a naval officer, who spent most of the year away at sea, and she was the head of the family. Beatriz, according to the director’s notes, “learned everything from the verticality of plants, and took great care of the roots of their six children.” The oldest son, Jacinto, her father, “dreamed he could be a bird,” she writes.
Beatriz died of a stroke in 1984, when her father was 36, two years before the director was born, and she lost her own mother in 2003, when she was only 17.
“In a way we were both semi-orphaned. By understanding how my father came to terms with the loss of his mother made me understand my own sense of loss better. It also brought us closer,” she tells Variety.
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