Strand Releasing has acquired all U.S. rights to Félicité, French-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis’ latest feature, which continues to rack up top international film festival awards, most recently named the best fiction feature film at the 14th edition of the African Film Festival of Tarifa and Tangier (FCAT 2017) – the festival’s highest prize – and the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, where it made its world premiere.
It’s also a film that’s on the S&A 2018 Oscar predictions list as a potential Best Foreign Language Film contender.
Strand has set an October 27th, 2017 theatrical release for the film, in the thick of Awards season. It will next screen at the New York Film Festival, one of the season’s most prestigious, where I plan to finally see it and review.
The France/Senegal/Belgium/Germany/Lebanon co-production was shot in Kinshasa (DRC) and Senegal, and stars Véronique Beya Mputu, Gaetan Claudia and Mpaka Longi, in a story written by Gomis, Olivier Loustau and Delphine Zingg, that centers around a single mother, the titular Félicité, a singer in Kinshasa living with Samo, her 16-year-old son, who is at risk of losing his leg from an accident, unless she can come up with the money to pay for the operation. His leg will be amputated otherwise, sending Félicité on a city-wide quest to raise the necessary funds.
It’s Gomis’ 4th feature film in about 15 years; Tey, his last film, also premiered in competition at Berlin in 2012, so he seems to have found a welcoming environment there to present his work.
During his FCAT acceptance speech, Gomis had this to say: “This is excellent news and a true honor for me […] Right now my deepest thoughts are directed to the film crew, to all the actors, in particular the great actress Véro Tschanda Beya, the singer Muambuyi, the musicians and the population of Kinshasa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which continues to suffer great political instability. I wish you all the creative and enduring strength with which you have inspired the world for so many years.”
Strand has premiered a USA release trailer for Félicité (of course with English subtitles) which is embedded below.