Locarno Titles ‘Last Dance,’ ‘Little Ones’ Pounced On by Be For Films (EXCLUSIVE)

Brussels-based sales company Be For Films has picked up international sales rights to two world premiere titles at the upcoming 75th Locarno Film Festival: Delphine Lehericey’s Piazza Grande entry “Last Dance” and Julie Lerat-Gersant’s Cineasti del Presente player “Little Ones.”

Lehericey’s third film, the dramedy “Last Dance,” is a Switzerland-Belgium co-production, teaming Lausanne-based Box Productions with Brussels’ Need Productions.

The film follows Germain, an introspective retiree who abruptly becomes a widower at 75. Suddenly, he finds himself at the heart of a contemporary dance company’s newest work, honoring a promise he made to his departed wife.

The film stars French actor François Berléand (“Les Choristes,” “Transporter”), Spanish-born choreographer, dancer and visual artist La Ribot, Kacey Mottet-Klein (“Sister,” “Home”), Jean-Benoît Ugeux (“I Feel Good,” “Paris Police 1900”) and Sabine Timoteo (“The Chronicles of Melanie,” “Driften”).

“Last Dance” is produced by Box Productions’ Elena Tatti, the producer of Lehericey’s previous features “Puppy Love” and “Beyond the Horizon” a best film and screenplay winner at the 2020 Grand Prix Swiss Award. The two family dramas about tormented adolescents premiered in San Sebastian’s New Directors sidebar in 2013 and 2019, respectively.

“It’s an immense joy to pursue such a stimulating collaboration with Delphine Lehericey and her producer Elena Tatti. They surprised us by coming with the script of ‘Last Dance.’ We cried, laughed, and I think those emotions are essential for the audience today,” said Pamela Leu, CEO and head of sales at Be For Films.

“’Last Dance’ is the opportunity for Delphine Lehericey to realize an idea that she had wanted to explore for several years: To depict the retirement years in a way that is both kind and humorous; question the way we tend to treat old people like children; imagine a movie that speaks about mourning, love, as well as family relationships and friends,” Tatti argued.

“Thanks to the skilful way she was able to interweave the world of cinema and dance, including the gallery of touching and kind characters she imagined, as well as her moving homage to ‘movement and the love that binds beings forever,’ according to her own words, Delphine, it seems to us, successfully achieved the goal she gave herself: To create an original feel-good film with an art house feel,” she added.

Lehericey, who directed the medium length film “Comme à Ostende,” selected for Locarno’s Concorso Cineasti del Presente in 2007, is developing her first TV series, “Les Indociles,” produced again by Box Productions.

Competing this year at Cineasti del Presente, a section reserved for emerging filmmakers from around the world, “Little Ones” is produced by Sophie Révil and Denis Carot at Paris-based Escazal Films, the company behind France 2 hit TV series “Les Petits Meurtres d’Agatha Christie.” “Little Ones” will be distributed in France by Haut et Court.

“We are very proud of the selection in Cineasti Del Presente. The section is the perfect door for a first time director like Julie Lerat-Gersant to start her career. ‘Little Ones’ will certainly hook distributors’ hearts and more festivals to highlight the sincerity and energy of a first feature film,” Be For Films’ Pamela Leu said.

The feature debut of Lerat-Gersant revolves around Camille, a 16-year-old pregnant girl placed in a home for teen mothers by a family court judge.

Separated from her own loving yet toxic mother, she strikes up a friendship with Alison, another rather immature underage mother, and rebels against the social worker Nadine, a passionate, albeit blasé authority figure. These encounters will radically change her destiny.

“My initial desire to write this script and make this film came about several years ago when I was conducting writing workshops in teenage pregnancy centers. These big group houses are filled with teenage mothers and very young children. I was struck by the disarming combination of carefree adolescence coupled with parental responsibilities,” Julie-Lerat Gersant explained.

She added: “The reality of life there is harsh and unfortunately, dysfunctional family patterns are often repeated from one generation to the next. But thankfully sometimes, certain young women have experiences that give hope to others, leaving an impression on the team of professionals working there. Camille is one of these young women.”

Launched in 2014, Be For Films is the Belgian subsidiary of the French group Playtime, formerly known as Films Distribution. It is primarily focused on indie films, whether fiction or documentaries, comedies or dramas, dealing with societal and strong women issues. Be For Films receives financial and corporate backing from Playtime.

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