Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Animation ‘They Shot the Piano Player’  

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the North American rights to the animated feature They Shot the Piano Player from Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, the duo behind Oscar nominee Chico & Rita. The plan is for an awards season release.

The company also acquired the rights for the film in Latin America, Scandinavia, India, the Middle East, Turkey, Southeast Asia (excluding Taiwan and South Korea) and for airlines within those territories

The Bossa Nova-themed animation is narrated by Jeff Goldblum and follows a New York music journalist, who goes on a quest to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of young Brazilian piano virtuoso Tenorio Jr. The rest of the synopsis reads: “A celebratory origin story of the world-renowned Latino musical movement Bossa Nova, the film captures a fleeting time bursting with creative freedom at a turning point in Latin American history in the ’60s and ’70s, just before the continent was engulfed by totalitarian regimes.”

The film features Brazilian musicians João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Vinicius de Moraes, and Paulo Moura.

Cristina Huete of Trueba PC in Spain produced the film, along with Serge Lalou for Les Films d’Ici in France, Janneke van de Kerkhof for Submarine Sublime in the Netherlands, and Humberto Santana in Portugal. It is executive produced by Nano Arrieta of Atlantika and Fabien Westerhoff of Film Constellation.

“This film has been a 15-year investigation of mine into the life of a musical genius, whose life was unjustly taken by the military coup back in the 70s. I am delighted to celebrate his legacy with the luminous animation of my accomplice Javier Mariscal. We can’t wait for the world to discover his life and music with our friends at Sony Pictures Classics,” said Trueba.

The deal was brokered with Westerhoff on behalf of the filmmakers. London & Paris-based finance, production and sales company Film Constellation handles worldwide sales and co-financed the film. Film Constellation will be selling the remaining territories at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.  

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