Leo Leigh’s ‘Sweet Sue’ & Gaumont’s Vincent Perez Pic ‘The Edge Of The Blade’ Among Munich Film Festival World Premieres
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EXCLUSIVE: Leo Leigh’s directorial debut Sweet Sue and Vincent Perez’s fencing film The Edge Of The Blade are among six international films set to get their world premieres at the upcoming Filmfest München (June 23 – July 1), which this year celebrates its 40th edition. Scroll down for full list and details.

The large summertime festival has been known for premiering German films but this year has collated a stronger collection of global debuts, partly inspired by the launch at the event last year of Marcelo Gomes’ Brazilian film Paloma.

The six international debuts — heralding from U.S., Canada, UK, France, and Israel — are each looking for a German distributor. Directors and talent will be attending the screenings.

Leigh is the son of celebrated British auteur Mike Leigh. His BBC Films-backed comedy-drama, sold by HanWay, follows a woman back on the dating scene who embarks on a relationship with a mysterious biker at her brother’s funeral.

French-language fencing drama The Edge Of The Blade (pictured below), backed by Gaumont, marks Shantaram and An Officer And A Spy star Perez’s first movie in four years.

The complete program for this year’s festival will be released next week.

Christoph Gröner, artistic director of Filmfest München, said today: “We aim to be the discoverers of new films and new talent, of international gems and masters of their art. Independent cinema is struggling right now. The world is in crisis: the economy, the film industry, the arts. This means that festivals are more important than ever when it comes to distributing films and finding (new) audiences. We aim to be the birthplace of German as well as of international films. This is a new boutique strategy for six select international independent productions that trust us to handle their world premieres.”

In a bid to grow and internationalise its lineup, the event has in recent years added the CineRebels competition in 2022 and the CineCoPro Conference in the same year.

Munich Film Festival: Six International World Premieres (blurbs provided by the festival)

Sweet Sue by Leo Leigh

With his directorial debut “Sweet Sue” (pictured above), director Leo Leigh celebrates his world premiere at Filmfest München. Leigh has already attracted considerable attention with a number of documentaries, such as “Swansea Love Story” (2009) about the widespread heroin addiction among young people in Wales. In his feature film debut “Sweet Sue”, Leigh also tries to take a look at struggling existences, but uses a humorous approach. Sue (O’Neill) is now back on the dating scene. She meets a mysterious biker called Ron (Pitts) at her brother’s funeral and sparks fly. But when she meets Ron’s social-media influencer son Anthony (Trevaldwyn), Sue finds herself in an increasingly surreal battle of wills with this ambitious teenager who is convinced that his dance troupe ‘Electric Destiny’ is tipped for stardom. Will she find the purpose and imagination to bring this little unconventional family together for a chance at happiness? Sweet Sue is a Somesuch, SUMS Film & Media production for BBC Film.

UKI by Shu Lea Cheang

Shu Lea Cheang is a pioneer of queer new media art who seeks to overwhelm her viewers. Her works involve elements of queer cinema, science fiction, pornography, and networked installation and performance scenarios. The characters in Cheang’s films question heteronormativity and social norms and explore perspectives on liberated sexuality. Cheang’s latest production, “UKI”, is being screened as a world premiere at Filmfest München. In this film with a futuristic cyberpunk aesthetic, a sex worker and replicant named Reiko finds herself in a dystopia in the year 2060. Made redundant and discarded in a landfill for electronic waste, Reiko attempts to regain control of her cybernetic body. “UKI” is produced by Jürgen Brüning Filmproduktion.

A Respectable Woman by Bernard Émond

Canadian director Bernard Émond made a convincing debut at the Cannes Film Festival with his feature film “La femme qui boit”. Now he’s presenting his latest work, “A Respectable Woman”, in its world premiere at Filmfest München. Émond describes himself as an agnostic and “conservative socialist”, which particularly manifests itself in the humanistic and at times spiritual depth of his works. This also applies to “A Respectable Woman”, which paints an empathetic as well as historical portrait of a woman betrayed. In a plot based on Luigi Pirandello’s short story “Such Is Life”, Émond introduces us to Rose Lemay (Florent), who takes back her ex-husband Paul-Émile (Dubreuli) after the death of his lover. From that liaison, he brings three daughters with him, whom Rose is now expected to take care of. “A Respectable Woman” is a Corporation ACPAV inc. production.

The Edge of the Blade by Vincent Perez

The Edge Of The Blade

Vincent Perez is celebrating his comeback as a director at Filmfest München, presenting “The Edge of the Blade” in its world premiere. This innovative update of cloak and dagger films takes its audience to 19th-century Paris, where it focuses on an unlikely couple. Feminist Marie-Rose Astie (Tillier) wants to be initiated into the art of dueling and needs help from a charismatic master of arms, Clément Lacaze (Zem). Prior to establishing himself as a director with his first short films “L’Échange” (1992), “Rien Dire” (1999), and “Hier, tu m’as dit demain” (2000), Perez delivered a convincing performance as an actor in a variety of films. In 2002, Perez’s first feature film, “Peau d’Ange”, was released, but in 2016 the war drama “Alone in Berlin” was to be his last film for a while. “The Edge of the Blade” marks Perez’s return to the big screen. “The Edge of the Blade” is a Gaumont production.

The Return from the Other Planet by Assaf Lapid

“The Return from the Other Planet”, Assaf Lapid’s debut film as a director, is being presented to a world audience for the first time. This documentary portrays author Yechiel De-Nur, who in 1945, after his liberation from Auschwitz, published books about his experience of the Holocaust under the pseudonym Ka-Tzetnik (“the man from the camps”). To date, Lapid, an Israeli filmmaker, has made a name for himself as a screenwriter and editor. Currently, he is co-editing Oscar nominee Dror Moreh’s new project, “Corridors of Power”, an eight-part documentary series for Showtime, the BBC, and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN). “The Return from the Other Planet” is produced by Black Sheep Film Productions.

Edge of Everything by Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldmann

Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman are writer-directors from Los Angeles who carefully craft their characters and pay great attention to detail. They’re celebrating the world premiere of their first feature film, “Edge of Everything”, at Filmfest München. In this tender coming-of-age story, 15-year-old Abby (McCormick) is forced to grow up faster than she’d expected. When her mother dies, Abby moves in with her father (Harner) and his new girlfriend (Friedman-Seitz). In her search for direction, Abby befriends a rebellious girl named Caroline (Simpkins), who is not always a good role model, but who gives her a fresh perspective on life’s trials and tribulations.

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