NEON picks up Cannes Directors’ Fortnight winner ‘A Chiara’
The Oscar-winning studio is behind this year’s Cannes Palme winner Titane, Jury Prize winner Memoria and Best Actress winner Renate Reinsve from The Worst Person in the World
NEON announced today that it has taken North American rights to Jonas Carpignano’s festival sensation A Chiara, which won the Europa Cinemas Label as Best European film in the Directors’ Fortnight section at Cannes. The film marks the second time Carpignano takes the award, after previously winning for 2017’s A Ciambra, the second film in his Calabrian Trilogy. Written by Carpignano, the drama stars Carmela Fumo, Claudio Rotolo and Swamy Rotolo. Photography is by Tim Curtin, sound by Giuseppe Tripodi, production design by Marco Ascanio Viarigi, editing by Affonso Goncalves and music by Academy Award-nominated director Benh Zeitlin and Dan Romer.
A Chiara follows the Guerrasio family and friends who gather to celebrate Claudio and Carmela’s oldest daughter’s 18th birthday. There is a healthy rivalry between the birthday girl and her 15-year-old sister Chiara as they compete on the dance floor. It is a happy occasion, and the close-knit family are in top form. However, everything changes the next day when the father disappears. Chiara starts to investigate. As she gets closer to the truth, she is forced to decide what kind of future she wants for herself.
The Europa Cinema Label jury remarked that the film “reflects a genre that has been extensively covered in cinema but this time from a new perspective. This story […] is brilliantly structured and built. The casting of non-professionals in all of the roles works extremely well, and the imaginative sound design makes a big contribution to the appeal of the film.”
Jeff Deutchman and Mason Speta negotiated the deal for NEON with Fionnuala Jamison from mk2 Films. A Chiara is a Stayblack and Haut et Court production. Producers are Jon Coplon, Paolo Carpignano, and Ryan Zacarias.
Carpignano’s A Ciambra, which was Executive Produced by Martin Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, was Italy’s Official Entry to the 2018 Academy Awards. His first feature film Mediterranea earned him the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, was named the best directorial debut of 2015 by the National Board of Review and received Independent Spirit Award nominations for Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, and Best Male Lead.
NEON debuted three titles to critical acclaim at the festival this year, and took their second Palme d’Or winner in a row, just off the heels of Parasite, with Julia Ducournau’s Titane. The company also premiered Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria starring Tilda Swinton, which tied for the Jury Prize, and the anthology feature The Year of the Everlasting Storm. On Friday NEON acquired the breakout instant classic The Worst Person in The World from Norwegian writer-director Joachim Trier, which took the Best Actress Award for Renate Reinsve.
The company’s upcoming slate includes Pablo Larrain’s Spencer, Jamila Wignot’s Ailey, Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman, and Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flee, executive produced by Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.