Fast-growing indie sales, distribution and production company Alief has acquired the global sales rights to writer-director Amanda Kramer’s “Give Me Pity!” which will world premiere at the upcoming International Film Festival Rotterdam on Jan. 29 in an honored position as the closing film of the event’s Filmmakers in Focus section.
Following its world premiere, which has just been announced by the Rotterdam Festival, Alief will bring the film to the Berlinale’s European Film Market for its market debut in February.
Kramer’s recognition as one of this year’s Filmmakers in Focus at Rotterdam takes in her feature film “Please, Baby Please,” starring Andrea Riseborough and Demi Moore, which opens the festival on Jan. 20 with its world premiere. Kramer spent years at the head of her own underground dance label in Los Angeles and several years ago shifted to filmmaking.
According to her festival bio, Kramer “takes inspiration from art, theater, music and fashion to push cinema to its limits.” In total, Rotterdam will screen four Kramer features – including “Paris Window” and “Ladyworld” – and four shorts: “Bark,” “Intervene,” “Request” and “Sin Ultra.”
“’Give Me Pity!’ is an untamed and intimate portrayal of diva culture, female vanity, created persona, and the prisms of fame. I’m elated to be premiering the film at IFFR, where provocation, experimentation, and fine art in cinema is revered,” said Kramer after the premiere was announced.
In “Give Me Pity!”, the filmmaker offers an energetic spin on the classic U.S. institution of variety TV specials. Sophie Von Haselberg (“Irrational Man,” “Pose”) stars as Sissy St. Claire, the host of an off-the-wall one-woman show. Vanity, insecurity and delusions of grandeur tighten their grip around the host’s psyche as she breaks down under the glooming gaze of a masked figure, resulting in a slow-burn public breakdown as the show progresses.
Von Haselberg, saw the role as an opportunity to showcase her a wider range of her talents: “If I cooked up my dream project out of thin air, it would look exactly like ‘Give Me Pity!’ Amanda’s extraordinary trust gave me license to take Sissy as far in any direction as I wanted. With that kind of freedom, I know I could relive this experience a hundred times and still find a thousand more facets of this wild, wonderful, tragic woman to explore.”
Kramer wrote, directed and produced the feature in association with Neon Heart Productions, Smudge Films and Irving Harvey. Jacob Agger, Sarah Winshall and Benjamin Shearn joined her as producers, with Rhianon Jones, Riccardo Maddalosso and Samuel Gursky as executive producers.
“We are thrilled to represent the latest visionary work of Amanda Kramer. ‘Give Me Pity!’ is a visually theatrical smorgasbord of pure talent, and uniquely entertaining” said Alief president Brett Walker of the acquisition.
“We could not be happier,” added Alief head of distribution Miguel Angel Govea. “’Give Me Pity!’ turns the variety format on its head, with a hilarious outstanding performance by triple threat Sophie Von Haselberg. Move over ONJ, Madonna and Cher, here comes Sissy St. Claire!”
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