108 Media/Paladin has picked up worldwide rights to "Valley of Saints," winner of Sundance 2012's Audience Award and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize. The film, directed by Musa Syeed, played over fifty major festivals around the world and is now nominated for an Indie Spirit Award for Best Cinematography. 108 Media will shop foreign rights at the European Film Market and will then take the film out this summer in the US.
Paladin's Mark Urman calls the film, "an exquisite film that feels like the work of a master despite the fact that Musa is only his in his 20's!" He continues, "I am exceedingly proud to assist at the birth of what I predict will be a spectacular career."
I caught the film, a beautiful narrative directorial debut, at the Hawaii International Film Festival. Read the synopsis below. The film is also participating in the Sundance Institute's Film Forward program.
Set on Dal Lake in Kashmir, one of the world's most idyllic settings despite the area's political unrest, VALLEY OF SAINTS tells the story of Gulzar, a young man who earns his living ferrying tourists around the lake but who himself has never left his remote village. When he makes plans to flee to the big city, a sudden curfew suspends all travel and he is trapped, literally as well as figuratively, at the lake. When a beautiful young scientist, Asifa, arrives to study the creeping effects of pollution on the local waters, she hires Gulzar to transport her. Seeing his world through the eyes of an outsider for the first time, his vision of himself, his community, and their respective prospects for the future, is forever transformed.