EXCLUSIVE: Kino Lorber has acquired North American rights to Eldorado, Markus Imhoof’s documentary that has been chosen by Switzerland to represent the country in this year’s Foreign Language Oscar race. Imhoff was Oscar-nominated in 1981 for his drama The Boat Is Full — like Eldorado its focus was the plight of refugees and migrants. The distribution deal is for both films.
Eldorado draws inspiration from Imhoof’s personal childhood relationship with Giovanna, a young Italian girl, in the aftermath of World War II. His Swiss family took her in as a refugee, but she was ultimately sent back to Italy. He delves into the experience of personal loss and draws parallels with the current refugee crisis, taking his cameras on the Italian warships of Operation Mare Nostrum, refugee camps in Southern Italy, and asylum hearings with Swiss authorities who reject refugees at all levels.
The film world premiered at the Berlin Film Festival this year and received a Special Mention from the jury of the Amnesty International Film Prize.
The Boat is Full, which won the Silver Bear in Berlin in 1981, follows a group of Jewish refugees and a deserting German soldier trying to flee Nazi persecution and gain refuge with a Swiss couple, while secretly posing as a German family under watchful eyes. The film has been largely absent from U.S. screens for decades.
“Markus Imhoof imbues Eldorado with the same passion which permeated his 1982 Academy Award-nominated film The Boat Is Full,” said Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell. “While one a drama and the other a documentary, both call for open hearts and open borders in times of human need.”
The deals were negotiated by Lidell and Films Boutique’s Louis Balsan.