“Nocturna,” an Argentinian-made fantasy film that played last month in the Shanghai International Film Festival’s midnight fantasy section, has been picked up by Chinese company Naropean.
Naropean, which shares executives with HGC Entertainment, one of the more prominent Chinese IP groups, has taken rights for China, Asia and Oceania, as well as remake rights. The deal represents one of the few rights deals struck so far at the Cannes Market with a Chinese buyer.
Directed by Gonzalo Calzada, “Nocturna” is actually a pair of films where events are told from the a different point of view. In “Nocturna: Side A — The Great Old Man’s Night,” the story follows a nearly 100-year-old man who, on his final night on earth, fights for redemption from his previous misdeeds. In “Nocturna: Side B — Where Elephants Go to Die,” Calzada embarks on an aesthetically opposite experimental twist. A trailer released late last year showed the two worlds mixed together, and presented an elderly man’s struggles with grief and dementia, and how it affects those around him.
Rights sales are handled by U.K.-based Alief, which previously sold the rights to Breaking Glass Pictures for North American release.
” ‘Nocturna’ an extraordinary thriller that makes people fearful, it is moving and thought-provoking,” said Peter Li of Naropean. “After its screening at the Shanghai Film Festival in June, the film has been well received by audiences and has received good reviews on Chinese professional film websites, which makes us confident that it will do well in Asia and Oceania.”
Naropean plans to release the film in Chinese theaters in 2021. “For the Chinese-version remake, we plan to complete the script adaptation in 2022, put it into production and release it in China in 2023,” said Li. Alief, Coruya Cine and La Puerta Cinematografica are expected to get executive producer credits.
“Nocturna has a universal story at its center which makes this a film ripe for remake. We are honored that Peter Li and his team has seen its 360-degree potential” said Miguel Govea, head of production and distribution at Alief.
Where Chinese executives were in 2019 the fifth-largest group of attendees by nationality, Chinese buyers are noticeable this year by their absence from Cannes. In part, that reflects China’s continuing strict travel restrictions in the COVID-19 era and incompatible vaccine policies in Europe and China,.
It also reflects a China market that has become significantly more inward looking in the past year, dominated by local and propaganda titles. Other international rights sales companies have told Variety that the prices currently obtainable in China are a fraction of what they were not long ago.