“Green Border,” Agnieszka Holland’s Venice Special Jury Prize-winning refugee drama, has been acquired by Kino Lorber in the U.S. (“Scrapper”) and Modern Films in the U.K. (“Drive My Car”).
An empathetic tale of migrants caught in Europe’s refugee crisis, “Green Border” has earned widespread critical acclaim, winning several prizes at Venice and playing at key North American festivals such as Toronto, New York Film Festival and AFI Fest. Most recently, “Green Border” was nominated for three European Film Awards, including best film.
Kino Lorber has acquired North American distribution rights and is planning a theatrical release in 2024, followed by a home video, educational and digital rollout on all major platforms. Modern Films, meanwhile, has snapped up U.K. rights and will also back “Green Border” for the European Film Awards and the BAFTAs.
The film explores the injustice and terror perpetrated at the Polish-Belarusian border from the perspective of refugees, Polish activists and border guards. But despite being applauded in the international festival circuit, the film has been violently attacked by far-right figures in Poland, notably Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who compared it to Nazi propaganda. Holland and the production team have spoken out against the messages of hate, continuing to urge audiences to not look away from the ongoing humanitarian crisis and to resist the dehumanizing narrative spread by government authorities.
“‘Green Border’ is immersive filmmaking at its most impactful, a cinematic tour de force that has humanized the tragic plight of refugees clamoring to get into Europe for audiences at dozens of film festivals worldwide since its Venice premiere,” said Wendy Lidell, Kino Lorber’s SVP of theatrical distribution and acquisitions, who negotiated the North American deal with Julien Razafindranaly for Films Boutique. The sales company has now closed deals in all major territories.
Lidell pointed out there “have been other films about the migrant crisis, but none that so viscerally captures the ground truth of what people will endure to escape untenable circumstances.”
Holland, who earned an Oscar nomination for “Europa Europa” 30 years ago, reflects on the moral choices that ordinary people must make every day in “Green Border.” She directed the movie in collaboration with Kamila Tarabura and Katarzyna Warzecha, and co-wrote it with Maciej Pisuk and Gabriela Łazarkiewicz-Sieczko.
Fred Bernstein, producer and president of Astute Films, said Holland has “crafted an important and timely film that is simply great cinema.”
Mike Downey, executive producer of “Green Border” and chair of the European Film Academy, said the movie has found “perfect partners” in Kino Lorber and Modern Films, because both are “leaders in independent art house distribution who champion diverse, distinctive, impactful and contemporary stories for audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.”
“Richard Lorber (from Kino Lorber) and Eve Gabereau (from Modern Films) are award-winning distributors who count some of the greatest filmmakers in world cinema among their eclectic repertoires, and Agnieszka Holland is a name that can be added to, and enhance that list,” Downey continued.
The acquisition of “Green Border” is the latest high-profile international acquisition by Kino Lorber, following Kaouther Ben Hania’s Cannes-winning documentary “Four Daughters,” which was selected as the Tunisian Oscar entry and nominated for best documentary at the Gotham Awards.
“Green Border” was produced by Metro Films in association with Astute Films and in co-production with Blick Prod., Marlene Film Prod., Beluga Tree, Canal+ Poland, dFlights, Czech Television and Mazovia Warsaw Film Fund.
Holland produced the film with Marcin Wierzchosłąwski and Fred Bernstein. Executive producers are Mike Downey, Jeff Field, Emir Külal Haznevi and Daniel Bergman.