In the run-up to the Berlinale European Film Market, Maren Kroymann’s Berlin-based M-Appeal has acquired international sales rights to three new Berlin Fest-selected titles: “Discreet,” “Inflame” and “Millennials.” All are world premieres.
Focusing on new voices from independent and World Cinema, and with a strong line in LGBT art films, “M-Appeal” will also stage a market screening of young adult drama “Center of My World,” recently seen at Palm Springs Festival and directed by Jakob M. Erwa, who recently won a best upcoming director prize at the Bavarian Film Awards. M-Appeal recently licensed the film to the U.K.’s Matchbox.
Sporting the Berlinale’s hallmark contemporary focus, the three M-Appeal pickups focus on key social issues tensing the modern-day world: Roiling homophobia in the U.S.; collective historical amnesia in Turkey; the stresses affecting now not-so-young millennials.
Confirmed in Panorama today, “Discreet” marks the latest narrative feature from Travis Mathews, a filmmaker who has carved out a career offering alt-arthouse vision of queer masculinity and unsimulated gay sex. It comes after his docu-fiction, “Interior, Leather Bar,” made in collaboration with James Franco, broke out at the 2013 Sundance Festival, before playing Berlin, sparked a gamut of reactions.
“Discreet” turns on a drifter who, traumatised in youth, returns to his hometown to confront his past. The title refers to Mathews’ experience as he drove around central Texas in the summer of 2015 and turned on Grindr and Hornet.
“What fascinated me most were the profiles labelled discreet and the men hiding behind black boxed in lieu of faces or even anonymous torsos,” he said in a statement.
Matthew calls “Discreet” a “nightmare warning to what discretion – in its many forms – might bring.” He added: “Crystalizing with the U.S. presidential election, it became clear that the monster built from years of fear-mongering was no longer under anyone’s control.”
Also confirmed for Panorama, and part of a highly select Turkish presence at Berlin this year – just “Inflame” and two Talent Project Market entries – “Inflame” marks the feature debut of TV film critic-turned-filmmaker Ceylon Özgün Özçelik. A psychological thriller, it centers on a woman who suffers recurring nightmares of working on a TV news channel and living alone in a flat left to her by her musician parents who died in a car crash 20 years earlier. But the nightmares are really memories and her parents may still be alive and kicking.
According to Özçelik, “Inflame” talks about “the limits of oblivion” in a country where “reality and hallucinations bounce off each other” and turns in the final consideration on “collective memory,” a resonant subject in Turkey.
Screening in Perspective Deutsches Kino, which describes it as a “documentary-style, big city tale,” “Millennials” describes