Nov 6th, 2020
By Leo Barraclough

Eugen Jebeleanu’s debut feature “Poppy Field” has been sold to Missing Films for distribution in German-speaking territories ahead of its world premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.

The film follows the struggles of a young Romanian policeman Cristi over 24 hours as he tries to find the balance between two parts of his identity: that of a policeman working in a macho environment and that of a closeted gay person.

During a visit by his boyfriend, Hadi, with whom he is involved in a long-distance relationship, Cristi is called to a cinema where an ultra-nationalist, homophobic group has sabotaged the screening of a queer film. When one of the protesters recognizes him and threatens to disclose the secret about his sexuality, Cristi is faced with the danger of losing everything he has.

Although this is Jebeleanu’s first feature film he is an experienced theater director and writer, working mainly in France, Germany and Romania.

“The wish to make this film came as a natural expansion of my artistic interests and needs,” said the director. “It emerged from the necessity to give voice to vulnerable individuals and put under scrutiny the way in which society tends to vilify the idea of being different.”

Shot in 16mm, “Poppy Field” is lensed by Marius Panduru, who was also behind the camera of “12:08 East of Bucharest” by Corneliu Porumboiu, “If I Want to Whistle I Whistle” by Florin Serban, Radu Jude’s “Aferim” and “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians.”

The producer of the film, Velvet Moraru, is also known for titles such as “The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu,” which was at Cannes, “QED,” a winner at Rome Film Festival, and “Charleston,” which played at Locarno.

“Poppy Field” was produced by Icon Production, in co-production with Motion Picture Management and Cutare Film. The film received support from the Romanian Film Center, Publicis Groupe, Zenith Media, The Groupe and Cinema City. It was co-financed by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union and pitched in the Work in Progress section at Connecting Cottbus.

Patra Spanou negotiated the deal with Missing Films’ Christos Acrivulis.

Spanou also closed distribution deals for the Swiss comedy “One-Way to Moscow” by Micha Lewinsky with Swipe Films for U.K. and Ireland, and HBO Europe for Eastern Europe. Arsenal Filmverleih will release the film in Germany, while Vinca Film distributes it in Switzerland.