Tom Hardiman’s feature debut “Medusa Deluxe,” which premiered at Locarno on Saturday, has already seduced multiple international distributors with its mixture of humor, grief and competitive hairdressing.
Now Warsaw-based New Europe Film Sales has sealed further deals for the unusual murder mystery in Spain (Elastica Films), Benelux (Filmfreak), Scandinavia and the Baltics (NonStop Entertainment), Variety has learnt in exclusivity.
As previously reported, A24 has acquired North American rights to the film, produced by Emu Films with the support of BFI, BBC Films, and Time Based Arts.
MUBI holds the rights to U.K./Ireland, France, Latin America, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, India and Southeast Asia.
“The buyers are excited about ‘Medusa Deluxe’ because it’s a quirky, original piece of cinema which can appeal to younger audiences, especially since A24 and MUBI will lead the way on global marketing,” said New Europe Film Sales CEO, Jan Naszewski.
Hardiman, a self-confessed hairdressing aficionado, has joined forces with celebrity hairstylist Eugene Souleiman in order to show a community struggling with tragic loss yet still striving for perfection.
“There is this cathartic moment at one point, two people genuinely caring about each other, and you have this hairstyle with a boat on the top. It’s utterly ridiculous,” he told Variety earlier this week.
“To care about almost anything, including film, is absurd and it’s funny. I just really value people who are passionate to the point of obsession.”
Anita-Joy Uwajeh, Clare Perkins, Darrell D’Silva, Debris Stevenson, Harriet Webb, Heider Ali, Kae Alexander, Kayla Meikle, Lilit Lesser, Luke Pasqualino and Nicholas Karimi star in the ensemble drama.
Hardiman, whose shorts include “Radical Hardcore” and “Pitch Black Panacea,” also opened up about working with Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan and their visual choices during Locarno’s press conference. Ryan is known for “The Favourite” or Mike Mills “C’mon C’mon.”
“There are new opportunities for storytelling [now] and you can subvert classic genres. I like to be close to people. I like their personalities to come through and longer takes can really bring you into that world.”
Calling his film “a celebration,” Hardiman shared his excitement about its festival premiere and the first screening at Locarno’s famed Piazza Grande, one of the world’s biggest open air cinema venues.
“I have never had anything like it before. I am just happy,” he said.
“To show it to so many people in one go, it’s special. Especially for a film like ‘Medusa,’ because it’s a story that just invites the audience in.”