NEW YORK (May 18, 2023) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all rights in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Scandinavia, India, Middle East, Turkey, Southeast Asia (excluding Taiwan and South Korea) and airlines within those territories to Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal’s upcoming Bossa Nova-themed animated film, THEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER. Sony Classics plans to qualify the film for year-end awards.

The film is produced by Cristina Huete of Trueba PC (CHICO & RITA) in Spain, along with Serge Lalou for Les Films d’Ici (JOSEP) in France, Janneke van de Kerkhof for Submarine Sublime (BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF TURTLES) in the Netherlands, and Humberto Santana in Portugal. It is executive produced by Nano Arrieta of Atlantika and Fabien Westerhoff of Film Constellation.

From the duo behind the 2012 Academy Award® nominated CHICO & RITA, THEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER is narrated by Jeff Goldblum and features a who’s who of the best of Brazilian music, including João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Vinicius de Moraes, and Paulo Moura.

In THEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER, a New York music journalist goes on a quest to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of young Brazilian piano virtuoso Tenorio Jr. 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.

“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.

“This movie promises to be one of a kind! A gorgeous animated documentary filled with sublime color and music about a search for the truth about an amazing musician lost in history. It's great to be back again with Fernando and Cristina with another winner,” added Sony Pictures Classics.

This acquisition marks the second collaboration between Sony Pictures Classics and Trueba after the 1992 Academy-Award®-winning BELLE ÉPOQUE.

The deal was brokered with Westerhoff on behalf of the filmmakers. London & Paris-based finance, production & 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. 


Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992—which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world.  Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 41 Academy Awards® (37 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 186 Academy Award® nominations (160 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for THE FATHER, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, WHIPLASH, AMOUR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.


Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services.


Film Constellation is screening an exclusive promo reel in Cannes, presenting footage for: Samuel Beckett biopic DANCE FIRST by Academy-Award® winner James Marsh, in post- production; romantic thriller HAUNTED HEART by Academy-Award® winner Fernando Trueba and starring Matt Dillon, in post-production; period satire COUP! by Austin Stark and Joseph Schuman, starring Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Magnussen, and Sarah Gadon, in post-production; Bossa Nova-themed animation THEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER by Academy-Award® winner Fernando Trueba and Academy-Award® nominee Javier Mariscal, in post-production; sci-fi romcom TURN ME ON by Michael Tyburski, starring Bel Powley & Nick Robinson, in post-production, and Isabel Coixet's romance drama UN AMOR, starring Laia Costa, in post-production.

Its current sales slate includes recently announced French horror drama ANIMALE from Emma Benestan, the latest adaptation of Françoise Sagan's cult novel BONJOUR TRISTESSE starring Claes Bang, Chloë Sevigny and Lily McInerny, and charming children's animation THE GROWCODILE; as well as Venice Days Audience Award winner BLUE JEAN by Georgia Oakley; Cannes winner (UCR Jury Prize & Queer Palm) and Pakistani Oscar entry JOYLAND by Saim Sadiq; thriller noir THE LESSON by Alice Troughton, starring Academy-Award® nominees Richard E. Grant and Julie Delpy to premiere at Tribeca; and CG children-adventure animation THE LAST DINOSAUR by Ben Smith, in production.

Film Constellation is an integrated production, finance and sales company headquartered in London and Paris. Its diverse talent slate includes Werner Herzog, Georgia Oakley, David Lynch, Natalie Erika James, James Marsh, Ekwa Msangi, Michaela Coel, Paco Plaza, Jamie Dack, Lotfy Nathan, Saim Sadiq, Rashaad Ernesto Green, and Carlos López Estrada, among others. Since inception, the company has packaged, produced, and sold over 50 commercially and critically acclaimed films and documentaries, premiering at A-class festivals including Cannes, Venice, Telluride, Toronto, Sundance and Berlin.

For further information: Sony Pictures Classics Press Contact: