NEON has acquired North American rights to Ninja Thyberg’s daring debut feature Pleasure, which made its world premiere to critical acclaim at this year’s Sundance Film Festival with critics calling it “astonishingly audacious”, “authentic”, and “undeniably bold.” They will screen the film at this year’s AFI FEST in a special in-person screening Saturday, November 13 and release the film in 2022.
Pleasure originated as a short of the same name and premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where it took home the Canal+ Award for best short film. It was originally purchased by A24 and was also an Official Selection of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival.
“We are thrilled to be working with Ninja on this incredible achievement and look forward to releasing it, in the director’s vision, as intended,” said a rep for NEON.
Pleasure takes a look at the Los Angeles porn industry through the lens of newcomer Bella Cherry (Sofia Kappel). Strong, self-confident but naive, Bella believes she can mold the corrupt system to satisfy her needs. But, in the end, she must confront whether she’ll pay with her soul for stardom, or not.
In its examination of the porn industry and the power dynamics of managers and male-dominated sets, Thyberg uses nudity in order to “expose rather than titillate.” With a stunning first time performance by Kappel, as the only actor in the film without any direct connection to the porn industry.
“I’m happy and relieved that my debut and life’s work is in the hands of NEON who dare to launch the film with my original vision, raw and uncut, to the American audience,” said director Ninja Thyberg.
Plattform Produktion and Eliza Jones, Markus Waltå, and Erik Hemmendorff produced the film. The film’s executive producers are Pape Boye and Violaine Pichon of Versatile. The co-producers are Leontine Petit and Erik Glijnis of Lemming Film, Peter Possne and Caroline Ljungberg of Film i Väst, Anna Croneman of SVT, and Frédéric Fiore and Eric Tavitian of Logical Pictures, as well as Grand Slam Film.
NEON’s Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal with CAA Media Finance and Pape Boye of Versatile.
Pleasure joins previously announced films tick, tick…BOOM! from Netflix as the AFI FEST opener in its world premiere, the Will Smith-starrer King Richard from Warner Bros. and the world premieres of Halle Berry’s Bruised from Netflix and Apple’s Swan Song, starring Mahershala Ali and Glenn Close.