Neon made one of the first 2021 Sundance acquisitions on Friday with Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s “Flee,” executive produced by Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
The film, which sold for an undisclosed seven-figure amount after an overnight bidding war, was officially selected for Cannes 2020 and made its debut on opening night of Sundance in the World Documentary Competition to rave reviews.
“Flee” tells the story of Amin Nawabi (a pseudonym) as he deals with a painful secret that he has kept for 20 years — a secret that threatens his life and the life of his soon-to-be husband. Recounted mostly through animation to Rasmussen, Nawabi tells the story of his journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan.
“Flee” is produced by Final Cut for Real, in co-production with animation studio Sun Creature, Denmark, Vivement Lundi!, France, MostFilm, Sweden, Mer Film, Norway and ARTE France and Vpro, Nederland. Monica Hellström and Signe Byrge Sørensen produced, while Jean-François Le Corre, Mathieu Courtois, Charlotte Most and Maria Ekerhovd co-produced. Natalie Farrey, Jannat Gargi, Danny Gabai, Philippa Kowarsky, Hayley Pappas and Matt Ippolito executive produced.
“Very excited to work with groundbreaking distributors Neon on getting ‘Flee’ out,” Rasmussen said. “Their roster of titles include a vast amount of my favorite films from the last couple of years and I’m extremely proud to now include my own work on that list.”
Ahmed added: “I was floored by the emotional impact of ‘Flee.’ This is a unique project that pushes forward our ideas of what documentary, animation and refugee-centered narratives can be. I’m proud to help bring this project to life for English-speaking audiences.”
Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal for Neon with 30West and Philippa Kowarsky of Cinephil on behalf of the filmmakers. International sales are being handled by Cinephil.