‘Buoyancy’ Surfaces With Virtual Debut, ‘Rent-A-Pal’ Offers Friendly Thrills, ‘Sibyl’ Brings The Psychodrama – Specialty Streaming Preview

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The origin of the drama Buoyancy can be traced back to when Australian filmmaker Rodd Rathjen came across an article a few years ago about Cambodian workers and their life on a Thai fishing trawler. He became riveted by the unbelievable story and upon more research, he said in a statement: “The scale of modern slavery and exploitation in Thailand is vast and hard to grasp.”

Written and directed by Rathjen, Buoyancy follows a spirited Cambodian teenager Chakra (Sarm Heng) who works the rice fields with his family but is looking for independence. He seeks the help of a local broker who said that they can get him paid work in a Thai factory. He heads to Thailand in hopes to find his fortuitous independence but when he gets there, he and his newfound friend Kea (Mony Ros), they’ve been duped. Along with other Cambodians and Burmese, they are sold to a fishing captain as slaves. As a result, Chakra and Kea become trapped at sea, trawling fish 22 hours a day while fighting for survival.

Rathjen admitted that he felt strange for telling a narrative from a Cambodian perspective and realized he needed to make it as authentic as possible. “It was really important that I did the research properly, collaborated closely with Cambodians and Thais and made the film with them not for them,” said Rathjen. “This issue is complex and I thought a film would be a really effective way of bringing the subject to light. Because nobody else was making a film about this challenging subject matter, and I had the will and later, luckily the support, to be able do it. In saying that, it was really important to be truthful and fully understand what I was doing.”

Buoyancy won the Ecumenical Jury Prize at Berlinale Panorama and was Australia’s official submission to the 2020 Academy Awards for Best International Feature. Kino Lorber releases the film virtually today at Laemmle Theatres and Lumiere Cinema as well as New York’s Film Forum and additional cities.

Watch the trailer below.

Out in select theaters and on demand today, Jon Stevenson’s Rent-A-Pal serves some delightful ’90s-set horror realness that brings the classic thrills of David Cronenberg’s Videodrome and merges it with the modern swipe-right culture of Tinder for a story that will get under your skin in the friendliest — and creepiest way possible.

Inspired by the real-life VHS tape, Rent-A-Friend: The Original Companion, IFC Midnight’s Rent-A-Pal follows a lonely bachelor named David (Brian Landis Folkins), who is looking to find an escape from the day-to-day drudgery of caring for his mother (Kathleen Brady). While seeking a partner through a video dating service, he discovers a strange VHS tape called ​Rent-A-Pal hosted by a charismatic gentleman named Andy (Wil Wheaton). The tape offers him much-needed company, compassion, and friendship but Andy’s friendship comes at a cost — and David is desperate to pay that price.
and Amy Rutledge (Neighbor)

Stevenson wrote and directed the film which also stars Amy Rutledge. Stevenson produces alongside Annie Elizabeth Baker, Jimmy Weber under Pretty People Pictures. J.D. Lifshitz and Raphael Margules of BoulderLight Pictures serve as executive producers.

Watch the trailer below.

Music Box Films will debut Justine Triet’s dark comedy Sibyl this weekend in New York’s Film at Lincoln Center as well as Laemmle’s Virtual Cinemas in Los Angeles with more theaters to follow.

The psychodrama tells the story of the titular jaded therapist Sibyl (Virginie Efira). She calls it quits and leaves her practice to foster her passion for writing. Things start to pivot when her newest patient, a troubled actress named Margot (Adèle Exarchopoulos) proves to be a source of inspiration that is far too tempting. As they get to know each other Sibyl becomes increasingly involved  — almost obsessed — with Margot’s tumultuous life. At the same time, Sibyl is grappling with her own demons.

Sibyl hit the festival circuit making stops at Cannes, TIFF and New York Film Festival. This marks the second collaboration between Triet and Efira. The pair previously worked together on the 2016 film In Bed with Victoria. Sibyl also features Gaspard Ulliel (Saint Laurent), Sandra Hüller (Toni Erdmann), Laure Calamy (Call My Agent) and Niels Schneider (Heartbeats).

Watch the trailer below.

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