Celluloid sells Sony North American rights

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North American rights to director Jacques Rivette’s “Va Savoir!,” a Competition pic at Cannes, from Paris-based sales company Celluloid Dreams in a mid-six-figure deal.

A flurry of international interest Friday led Celluloid to close territory deals around the world, including the U.K. and Germany.

“This is one of the greatest films in the history of the French Cinema,” said SPC-co-president Michael Barker, whose company has been busy at Cannes, acquiring U.S. rights to Zhang Yang’s “Quitting,” Eric Rohmer’s “L’Anglaise et le duc” and Lieven Debrauwer’s Director’s Fortnight entry “Pauline and Paulette” (Daily Variety, May 17).

“I think SPC is one of the best places to be when you have a good arthouse film,” said Celluloid prexy Hengameh Panahi. “It has the advantage of a big company, but they also tailor-make their distribution. It’s a good name to have behind our film.”

At its premiere screening Wednesday in Cannes, pic elicited a sustained standing ovation.

Film centers on a young French theater actress who, after finding love and success in Italy, must return to Paris, from which she suddenly and mysteriously fled several years earlier. Pic’s been compared to Francois Truffaut’s “Day for Night,” though it’s set in the theater, not the film, world.

Rivette’s longtime producer, Martine Marignac, produced the film via her Paris-based Pierre Grise Prods. Jeanne Balibar, Sergio Castellitto and Helene de Fougerolles star.

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