Visually Stunning and Emotionally Gripping Debut from Writer/Director
Alejandro Loayza Grisi Will Open Theatrically Later This Year
"Extraordinary… Directing with a very sure hand and the confidence of a veteran, Loayza Grisi has fashioned an exceptional debut that reveals a heightened visual sense."
– Todd McCarthy, DEADLINE
"Visually beguiling… the images conjured in Utama momentarily let us into the language of the unknown, of what we can not comprehend unless we are as in tune with the land as those whose existence is so deeply tied to it."
– Carlos Aguilar, INDIEWIRE
"A strikingly beautiful work which employs stunning widescreen cinematography from Barbara Álvarez to capture the breathtaking highland vistas and the vast, brutal indifference of the landscape."
– Wendy Ide, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
New York, NY – April 12, 2022 – Kino Lorber announced that it has acquired all U.S. distribution rights to writer-director Alejandro Loayza Grisi's Bolivian eco-drama Utama, which means "our home." Kino Lorber is planning a theatrical release for later this year.
Utama made its World Premiere in the 2022 Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Competition, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. With stirring performances from non-professional actors and featuring starkly beautiful Bolivian landscapes, Utama is the debut feature by Bolivian cinematographer and still photographer Alejandro Loayza Grisi and is shot by veteran cinematographer Barbara Álvarez (Lucretia Martel's The Headless Woman). The film is produced by Santiago Loayza Grisi for Alma Films and co-produced by Federico Moreira for La Mayor Cine.
In the arid Bolivian highlands, an elderly Quechua couple has been living the same daily routine for years. When an uncommonly long drought threatens their entire way of life, Virginio and Sisa face the dilemma of resisting or being defeated by the passage of time. With the arrival of their grandson Clever, the three of them will face, each in their own way, the environment, the necessity for change, and the meaning of life itself.
The deal for Utama was negotiated by Kino Lorber Senior Vice President Wendy Lidell, Virginie Devesa for Alpha Violet and CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers.
"The luscious landscapes of Utama speak more loudly than any words about the havoc being wrought by climate change in the Bolivian highlands," said Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell. "And the consequences of this change resonate even more deeply in the resolute faces of the people who have farmed this land for generations and now face exile or extinction. We hope Americans will embrace this film for its stark beauty, stirring performances and relevant message."
"Going to a theater and waiting for the lights to turn off and submerge yourself into a story has no comparison. That is why I'm so thrilled and joyful that Utama has found a nice home with Kino Lorber in the US, so they can share the film and it can be enjoyed in a truly cinematic experience in theaters", said writer/director Alejandro Loayza Grisi. "Knowing that Americans can have a glance at my country reinforces the reasons I make films. I feel films can bring us closer together and I could not be thankful enough to be able to share a film set in Bolivia that can talk to other audiences all over the world."
About Alejandro Loayza Grisi
Alejandro Loayza Grisi (b. 1985) is a Bolivian filmmaker. He began his artistic career in still photography before beginning his filmmaking career as a cinematographer. As a director of photography he has worked in the documentary series Planeta Bolivia, in addition to a number of short films including Aicha, Dochera, and Polvo. Inspired by the stories that can be told through cinema, he ventures into screenwriting and direction with his first feature film, Utama.