THINKFilm to Release "Weeping Camel"
by Brian Brooks
New York and Toronto based THINKFilm has acquired North American rights to Toronto 2003 feature "The Story of the Weeping Camel" by Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni, the company announced Friday. The film, which is Mongolia's first submission for the foreign language Academy Award competition, is set in southern Mongolia's vast Gobi desert. "Weeping Camel" follows a family of camel herders who must contend with a mother camel that rejects her newborn after a difficult delivery. Following an ancient tradition, the family sends two young boys to the capital to seek the help of a musician who they believe can entice the camel to abide by her maternal instincts and nurse the newborn. During the rites performed by the musician to reunite the two, the mother camel begins to weep.
"'The Story of the Weeping Camel' took us all by surprise in Toronto," commented THINKFilm chief Mark Urman in a release. "It's breathtaking how this film takes a world and a way of life that is remote and exotic and turns it into an experience that is at once transcendent yet completely accessible." Neil Friedman and Beatrix Wesle of Menemsha Films negotiated the deal with THINKFilm.
Co-directors Davaa, a native of Mongolia, and Falorni, a native of Italy, made the film as their thesis project while enrolled at the Munich Film School. Menemsha Films took notice of the feature shortly after its completion last Spring at a student film festival in the German city, and steered it through its North American debut in Toronto.
THINKFilm will release "Weeping Camel" in Spring 2004. Other releases by the company include the highly successful Oscar-nominated doc "Spellbound" and the Brazilian doc "Bus 174," which opened recently, as well as "The Gospel of John." Other upcoming releases include Jonathan Demme's "The Agronomist," and Lone Scherfig's "Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself."