Leisure Time Locks "Abouna" and "Dog Days"
by Eugene Hernandez
Another film from New York's New Directors/New Films series has found a home as the prestigious festival enters its final weekend. Mahamat Saleh Haroun's "Abouna" was nabbed this week by Bruce Pavlow's Leisure Time Features. The company also closed a pact for 2002 New Directors title "Hundstage" (Dog Days) by Ulrich Seidl.
"Abouna," directed by Haroun ("Bye Bye Africa"), was sold by MK2's Florence Stern. It debuted last year in Cannes. Leisure Time's Pavlow told indieWIRE that he plans to debut the movie theatrically in October. The film, from Chad, explores the story of two young boys who are abandoned by their father on the border of Chad and Cameroon. It debuts at New Directors on Saturday.
Ulrich Seidl's "Hundstage" (Dog Days) will be released in the dog days of this summer, Pavlow says. Leisure Time will open the film at the Angelika in Manhattan in mid-August. The film, which debuted in Berlin last year, was sold to Leisure Time by Philippe Bober at the Coproduction Office. The film, Seidl's first fiction feature, looks at contemporary life in a Vienna subhurb during the hottest days of the summer.
Leisure Time has Samira Makhmalbaf's "Blackboards" currently in release. Other recent releases include Michael Haneke's "Code Unknown" and Helene Angel's "Skin of Man, Heart of Beast."
Among the other deals that have closed during New Directors this year are ThinkFilm's acquisition of the Brazilian doc "Bus 174," and Shadow's pact to release Gyorgy Palfi's "Hukkle." Buyers are still eyeing Miwa Nishikawa's "Wild Berries" and Israeli Adrian Caetano's "Red Bear," with deals possible later this month, according to the fest. Another title in focus after a solid New York Times review is Maja Weiss' "Guardian of the Frontiers."