EXCLUSIVE: Loco Films has picked up international sales rights to Crystal Swan, the debut feature from Belarusian director Darya Zhuk, which has been produced in association with Vice Films.
This comes ahead of its debut at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic this weekend. The film tells the story of an aspiring DJ in pursuit of her own American dream.
It is the latest international pick up for Laurent Daniélou’s Loco Films, which recently acquired the rights to Germinal Roaux’s refugee drama Fortuna and Lungin’s big-budget Russian war movie Leaving Afghanistan. Loco will handle sales in all territories outside of Belorussia.
Crystal Swan follows Velya, who dreams of moving to Chicago to pursue her passion for house music. However, obtaining a US visa proves a difficult endeavor and, determined to flee the country, the young woman takes the risk of buying a letter of employment from the black market. It is set a few years after Belarus gained independence in 1990. It stars Russian actress Alina Nasibullina in her first starring role, having appeared in a supporting role in How Vitka the Garlik took Alexey the Stud to the Nursing Home.
It is directed by Belarus-born Zhuk, who unexpectedly discovered filmmaking while studying Economics at Harvard. She has previously directed short films that have debuted at SXSW and other festivals but this is her first full-length. She works between Brooklyn and Minsk.
The film is an interesting co-production between four countries; the U.S., Belarus, Germany and Russia. Producers include Vice Films, Demarsh-Film, Fusion Features, Unfound Content, Vice Films, Crystal Goose and Inspiration Films. The film was lensed by Brazilian DP Carolina Costa (The Chosen Ones). It marks the first Belarusian feature film to screen in a top international festival since 2004.
“Crystal Swan is a love letter to my generation that came of age with our young country of Belarus, said Zhuk. “Premiering in Karlovy Vary is like the coming of age for our independent film industry – a new generation of filmmakers from insulated Belarus have now grown up and are defining their stance against – or in dialog with – the world.”