WME Signs ‘7 Prisoners’ Director Alexandre Moratto

EXCLUSIVE: Fresh off the Venice Film Festival world premiere of his upcoming drama, 7 Prisoners, director Alexandre Moratto has been signed by WME. The Netflix title is in the Horizons Extra section here and will next screen at the Toronto International Film Festival.

A protégé of filmmaker Ramin Bahrani, Moratto first garnered attention with his award-winning debut feature Socrates, shot at a budget of $20,000 with a crew of 16-20 year olds from a UNICEF-supported project providing opportunities to low-income communities in Brazil.

Socrates went on to screen at over 50 film festivals, earning Moratto two major film grants and three Independent Spirit Award nominations, including the John Cassavetes Award for best film with a budget of under $500,000 and the Someone to Watch Award, the latter of which he won. 

Bahrani served as a producer on Socrates and also produces 7 Prisoners. In Deadline’s review, Anna Smith called it a “powerful addition” to this year’s Venice with a “gripping premise.”

The story follows an imprisoned teen who tries to escape, but 18-year-old Mateus (Christian Malheiros) isn’t in a conventional prison: he’s working at a junkyard in Brazil’s São Paulo when his new boss, Luca (Rodrigo Santoro), locks him and his co-workers into the complex, playing mind games and demanding long hours. While some try to run for it, Mateus develops a strategy which involves impressing the boss and becoming his right hand man. But will the plan work, or will he be sucked into the other side of human trafficking?

Netflix will release the film worldwide this November in time for its 2022 awards campaign.

Moratto received a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship and is in the final stages of development on his next feature, Ale & The Boxer, which he is developing alongside Bahrani who is also attached to produce. He continues to be represented by Orly Ravid of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp.  

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