U.S. rights to Estonian director Veiko Ounpuu’s Venice International Film Festival feature “Sugisball” has been picked up by Strand Releasing.
The film follows the inhabitants of an apartment tower who cope with alienation, loneliness and despair in late Soviet-era Estonia. The young writer, Mati, lurks outside the window of his ex-wife and unsuccessfully approaches other women. August Kask is a barber living a drab life who takes to a little girl, but his approaches are misconstrued as pedophilia. The single mom, Laura, watches a sappy soap opera on TV and pushes away men’s advances because she cannot trust them. Maurer, the architect, thinks about the well-being of humanity, but has forgotten his own wife, who, in turn, looks for solace in the coatroom attendant Theo. Women like Theo, but due to his low social status, they don’t take him seriously. Ultimately, the film is a pitch black comedy about people attempting to overcome isolation.
Strand co-president Marcus Hu told indieWIRE that he saw the film on a tip from director Gregg Araki (“Smiley Face”) and “loved it.” After its world premiere in Venice, “Sugisball” played AFI and will screen at the upcoming Seattle International Film Festival. The film is set for a US theatrical premiere on June 3rd at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.