EXCLUSIVE: ICM Partners has signed Brazilian writer-director Kleber Mendonca Filho, whose second feature film Aquarius starring Sonia Braga played in competition at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim.

Filho started out as a film critic and eventually ended up writing, directing, producing, and editing several short films before making his feature film debut with the 2012 pic Neighboring Sounds.

Aquarius centers on a 65-year-old widow (Braga) who is the last resident in a building targeted for redevelopment. She faces a cold war with developers to keep a home that has been a silent witness to her whole life.

The film took on greater meaning as it was released at the height of Brazil’s political crisis; Filho even led a protest on the Croisette during the fest in support of outgoing president Dilma Rousseff. Despite being tipped as the favorite to earn Brazil’s Oscar foreign-language film submission slot, the government committee overseeing the selection awarded the spot to Little Secret.