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Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Film ‘To a Land Unknown’ Picked Up by Salaud Morisset (EXCLUSIVE)

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Paris- and Berlin-based sales house Salaud Morisset has picked up international sales duties on Palestinian-Danish director Mahdi Fleifel’s “To a Land Unknown,” which is set to world premiere next month in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. The exclusive first-look image was released Tuesday.

Eurozoom just signed on to release the film in French theaters.

“To a Land Unknown” tells the story of the desperate attempts of two Palestinian cousins stranded in Athens to find a way to reach Germany. Chatila and Reda are saving to pay for fake passports to get out of Athens. When Reda loses their hard-earned cash to his drug addiction, Chatila hatches an extreme plan, which involves them posing as smugglers and taking hostages in an effort to get him and his best friend out of their hopeless environment before it is too late.

Fleifel said, “It’s especially moving to me, in these incredible times, to present a Palestinian film at Cannes. As Palestinians, we challenge media stereotypes, but more importantly, we defy invisibility, a struggle we’ve faced since the beginning. Our stories are needed now more than ever.”

François Morisset, Salaud Morisset’s founder, added: “‘To a Land Unknown’ is a paradox of unbelievable sincerity, dark cruelty, yet tinged with moments of infinite lightness and humor. It is an unfiltered, uncompromising story about exile, a breathtaking thriller carried by two bewitching protagonists, whom nothing can resist.”

Fleifel’s documentary “A World Not Ours” played at Toronto in 2012 and the Berlinale in 2013. He took part in the Cannes Cinéfondation in 2013, and subsequently directed several short films: “A Man Returned,” Berlin’s 2016 winner of the Silver Bear; Cannes 2017 nominee “A Drowning Man”; and IDFA 2018 winner “I Signed the Petition.”

Salaud Morisset was the sales agent on “A Drowning Man,” which went on to earn a BAFTA nomination.

“To a Land Unknown” is a European co-production between Geoff Arbourne of the U.K.’s Inside Out Films and Fleifel’s Nakba Filmworks, Morisset for France and Germany’s Salaud Morisset, Maria Drandaki for Greece’s Homemade Films, and Layla Meijman and Maarten van der Ven for the Netherlands’ Studio Ruba.

The other co-producers are ERT, Metafora Production and the Red Sea Fund. The film was supported by the Greek Film Center, the NFF+HBF co-production scheme, CNC’s Aide au Cinéma du Monde, ZDF/Arte, ZDF/DKF and the Doha Film Institute.