Syndicado Acquires ‘In Exile’ documentary

Tin Win Naing’s debut feature depicts Burmese refuge migrant workers in Thailand

TORONTO — Syndicado has acquired world sales rights to “In Exile” (“Pyi Pye”), a documentary about the plight of Burmese refuge migrant workers in Thailand. World premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, the film will play in the TIFF DOCS program.


“In Exile” is about people who have fled their home country Myanmar, a fate they share with director Tin Win Naing. “In Exile” marks his first feature, after having filmed politically sensitive events such as the Saffron Revolution, and is the second feature doc to come out of Myanmar.


“Forced to leave his wife and children behind, he crossed illegally into Thailand, where he encountered the world of Burmese migrants toiling as plantation workers. Theirs is a world of exploitation and danger, but also of solidarity and resilience. This beautiful work of deeply compassionate first-person filmmaking is a testament to their struggle for justice. ”–Thom Powers, TIFF DOCS Programmer


As an undocumented refugee amongst refugees, filming was difficult, often dangerous for director Tin Win Naing. But “when I thought I was lost, the spirits of my protagonists gave me strength. It seemed as those those migrants who struggled the most, also had the biggest smiles” he said. (Join the director, and Perennial Lens producers Yasmin Rams and Rodney Charles, for a behind-the-scenes talk at the TIFF DOC CONFERENCE, September 13


“We’re moved by ‘In Exile’ and its ability to shed light on not just workers already in a harsh environment, but even more vulnerable – as refugees from long term troubled nation Myanmar. We’re impressed with both Tin’s cinematic style, and empathetic lens to a people eclipsed from the world’s media or international aid” said Greg Rubidge, President and founder of Toronto-based Syndicado.


The film is Syndicado’s sixth major festival acquisition since their international expansion headed by Aleksandar Govedarica, Regional Director for Europe, who negotiated world sales for “In Exile” at Locarno. Syndicado will introduce the film to buyers at TIFF and Nordisk Panorama.


Syndicado announces newest acquisition SPANDEX SAPIENS

Spandex Sapiens

Syndicado is pleased to announce world sales rights to Spandex Sapiens from Helsinki-based director and producer Oskari Pastila. A portrait documentary of Finland-based, Canadian wrestler Michael “Starbuck” Majalahti.


“Set in the world of Finnish wrestling, our main character, an immigrant from Canada, has his own beliefs and values challenged by his nemesis–a transgendered wrestler within his school.  While the film has its moments of temerity, there’s a lighter side to the doc with some hilarious scenes and a welcome levity in an otherwise crowded world of ‘heavy docs’. We’ve been following the film for a while and are elated to pick it up for world sales and digital” said Greg Rubidge, President of Syndicado. “Bringing great indie films to major markets worldwide is what we love and we’re proud to be able to release Spandex Sapients theatrically, for broadcast and  on VOD.”


“Enchanting, Herzog-like…Finnish documentary film at its most original”–Kalle Kinnunen, Kuvien Takaa/Suomen Kuvalehti
“Real life ‘The Wrestler’” (Aronofsky / Mickey Rourke)–Film-O-Holic
“Brutally honest and constantly funny”–Film-O-Holic


Audience Award, Night Visions Festival, Helsinki
Critic’s Choice, DocPoint – Helsinki International Documentary Film Festival


Canadian and US sales will be handled by Greg Rubidge, and all other markets by Aleksandar Govedarica, Syndicado’s Regional Director – Europe. Already sold in Finland, Sweden and Japan.


Press for Elena


Elena (Variance Films/Syndicado) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $12,100 – Deadline




It is a bold plunge into painful memories, unasked questions and wounds still inflamed. It is, in short, crying in the form of a movie, but also an embrace of comfort. While trying to (re)discover the sister that died when she was only seven years old, director Petra Costa finds herself and, in part, her own mother. In the process, she involves the audience thanks to her openness, which allows us to glimpse, in melancholy, the journey of a young and talented director toward the catharsis that will require so much pain to occur.” – 



Brazilian actress and filmmaker Petra Costa searches for her older sister, as well as herself, in the beautifully poetic, hypnotic and intimate Elena.” – This Week In New York 




” Elena is an intimately beautiful film that challenges each of us to reflect on our own lives while discovering truths about family, sadness, acceptance and rebirth.” – The Huffington Post




“Elena” as a study in allusion, emotion and ultimately, perhaps even a challenge to the way in which we conceive of the cinema altogether.” – Indiewire

Indiewire’s interview with Producers Tim Robbins and Fernando Meirelles


Shot like a dream, spoken like an elegy, it takes nonfiction where it seldom wants to go – away from the comforting embrace of fact and into a realm of expressionistic possibility.” – Indiewire



“With its free-floating imagery, “Elena” unfolds like a cinematic dream whose central image is water, which symbolizes the washing away of grief. But more than that, it represents the stream of life, with beautiful images of women floating through time.” – NY Times



This haunting and dreamlike cinematic essay is filmmaking at its most personal.” – The Hollywood Reporter




An homage to the beloved older sister cowriter-director Petra Costa lost when she was 7-years-old, Elena is a detailed anatomy of grief—and a poetic tribute to life, love, and the transformative power of art.” – The L Magazine




A pained and gorgeous summoning, Petra Costa’s haunted doc Elena dances with death, memory, and family, seducing viewers and then breaking their hearts.” – Village Voice




This personal documentary by the Brazilian filmmaker Petra Costa unfolds a story of grief and thwarted promise with expressive urgency and thoughtful restraint.” – The New Yorker