Strand Releasing has picked up U.S. distribution on two official selections of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Fatih Akin’s documentary “Garbage in the Garden of Eden” and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Mekong Hotel.” Both features played as part of the festival’s special screenings program this week.
The hour-long film “essay” from Weerasethakul, whose “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” won the Palme d’Or in 2010 and also was released by Strand, is a blend of fact and fiction built from footage the filmmaker shot at a hotel on the Mekong River for a project that was never finished. The Thailand-set film involves his actors rehearsing the story of a vampire-like mother and her daughter to be called “Ecstasy Garden.”
“Eden” is the result of five years of tracking an ecological disaster affecting a Turkish village on the eastern shore of the Black Sea. Akin, who vacillates between fiction and nonfiction work, captured the villagers’ struggle to combat the polluted spillover from a newly built garbage dump in the hills above them. The Turkish-German filmmaker played in competition in 2007 with the drama “The Edge of Heaven,” for which he was awarded the best screenplay prize.
The Match Factory repped sales on both films, which first played Thursday, May 17, in theaters at the Palais. The Cologne-based company also is selling Sergei Loznitsa’s competition film “In the Fog” and Jaime Rosales’ Directors Fortnight entry “The Dream and the Silence.”
Strand most recently released the 2011 Cannes selections “Michael” and “Bonsai.” On Friday, the company releases “Oslo, August 31st,” which played in Un Certain Regard at the 2011 fest. Forthcoming releases include the Sundance drama “California Solo” and the SXSW premiere “Crazy Eyes.”