Berlin Contest Title ‘Return To Dust’ Sells Out in North America, Asia, MENA & Europe (Exclusive) | News

Berlinale Competition Title back to dustwritten and directed by Chinese Li Ruijun, was sold in North America, Japan, Europe and the MENA region under a series of deals by sales agency M-Appeal.

New York-based Film Movement has secured the rights for North America and is slated for a theatrical release in fall or early winter 2022.

The relationship drama follows lowly Ma and Cao, played by Wu Renlin and Hai Qing respectively, who have been rejected by their families and forced into an arranged marriage. They overcome this adversity by building a farm together.

Berlin-based M-Appeal has also struck a deal for Italy with Tucker Film, which will begin its rollout with a screening at the Udine Far East Film Festival later this month. Tucker Film executives Sabrina Baracetti and Thomas Bertacche are respectively president and coordinator of the Udine festival.

In Japan, Moviola will release the film in theaters in early 2023, first in Tokyo and then in around 40 cinemas across the country.

Film Europe took back to dust for the Czech Republic and Slovakia and will distribute the feature through its own Be2Can film festival in October, screening in more than 50 cities across the two countries, before expanding its theatrical release.

It has also been confirmed that Beirut-based Moving Turtle will distribute the film in the Middle East and North Africa later this year.

The film, which was the first Chinese feature to play in competition at the Berlinale since 2019 and generated positive buzz at this year’s festival, had already been sold in France (ARP), the UK and Ireland (Modern Films), Benelux (September Films), Spain (BTeam Pictures), Switzerland (Trigon Film), Portugal (Alambique) and Greece (Ama Films).

back to dust was produced by Zhang Min and Li Yan through Hucheng No.7 Films. Co-producers include Qizi Films, Beijing JQ Spring Pictures, Such a Good Film, Beijing Alibaba Pictures Culture, Dream Media, Aranya Pictures, Hangzhou Qin Zi Zai and Beijing Showcase Culture Media.

Li Ruijun’s previous films include Go ahead of the futurewho starred in Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2017; river path, selected for Tokyo and the Berlinale in 2015; and Fly with the cranewho played in Venice in 2012.

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