In a flurry of international deals, Ryusuke Hamaguchi‘s “Evil Does Not Exist” has secured distribution across further key territories. Hamaguchi is best known for the Oscar winning film “Drive My Car.”
The film created a buzz at the Venice Film Festival following its world premiere in competition on Monday, and saw Hamaguchi receive an almost eight-minute standing ovation.
Further deals have been closed in Poland (Gutek Film), Latin America (Imovision), Australia and New Zealand (Hi Gloss Entertainment), and the ex-Yugoslavian region (Five Stars Film Distribution), all of which will release the film theatrically.
Previously, the film sold to North America (Sideshow), U.K. and Ireland (Modern Films), France (Diaphana), Italy (Tucker and Teodora), Spain (Caramel Films), Germany (Pandora Film Distribution), Korea (GreenNarae), Benelux (September Film Distribution), Taiwan (Andrews Film), Austria (Polyfilm), Turkey (Mars Film), Portugal (Leopardo Filmes), Hong Kong (Edko Films), Israel (Lev Cinemas), Greece (Ama Films), Switzerland (Cineworx) and Scandinavia (Njutafilms).
“Evil Does Not Exist” will next screen at Toronto, New York, San Sebastian and Busan, which announced the selection this week.
The film began when composer Eiko Ishibashi, who also scored “Drive My Car,” asked the director to create footage to screen with her musical performance. The collaboration resulted in both a feature film – “Evil Does Not Exist” – and a live score film performance titled “Gift.” “Gift” features a shorter, silent film based on the same footage, and will be performed by Ishibashi for the first time at Film Fest Gent in October.
M-Appeal, which has a longstanding collaboration with Hamaguchi and producer Satoshi Takata of Neopa, is handling the world sales for “Evil Does Not Exist.”
Maren Kroymann, managing director of M-Appeal, reflected on the response from international buyers: “Hamaguchi has become a much-loved name in cinema. Since the success of ‘Drive My Car,’ distributors know that his films are artistically singular and, at the same time, relatable to a wide audience. His films, in an elegant and unique way, get under your skin and confront us with complex aspects of what it means to be human and entangled with the world around us. We have seen buyers respond with great excitement to this new film, which is both timeless and very relevant to the current moment we are living in.”
Poland’s Gutek Film plans to hold a tribute to Hamaguchi at the first edition of the Timeless Film Festival Warsaw (April 2024), where both “Evil Does Not Exist” and “Gift” will be presented. Jakub Duszyński, head of acquisitions at Gutek, added: “We were anxiously waiting for the new feature by Hamaguchi and when it arrived in Venice it left us profoundly moved. We are so proud and happy to be working with M-Appeal on releasing this outstanding work by a master of modern cinema in Poland.”
Latin American distributor Imovision’s recent acquisitions include Cannes 2023 titles “Monster” by Hirokazu Kore-eda, “Dry Grasses” by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and “Let Me Go” by Maxime Rappaz, which was also negotiated with M-Appeal.
Hi Gloss Entertainment, which will handle the release of the film in Australia and New Zealand, has released films such as “EO” and “Lie With Me,” and upcoming releases include “Totem.” “There is a quiet magic woven by Hamaguchi from the very first scene that intrigues and tantalizes. Hugely satisfying cinema that speaks to the zeitgeist,” said Simon Killen, managing director of Hi Gloss Entertainment.
Five Stars Film Distribution will handle the release and distribution of “Evil Does Not Exist” in the ex-Yugoslavian countries. Five Stars previously released Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car” and “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” in the region, as well as 2022 Palme d’Or winner “Triangle of Sadness.”