Pic stars Rampling, Sagnier

If French helmer Francois Ozon is shooting his next feature, “The Swimming Pool,” in English, it’s probably because Celluloid Dreams topper Hengameh Panahi has had incredible success getting top dollar in global markets for pics by Ozon and other relatively obscure filmmakers.

After American audiences sparked to Ozon with his “Sous le sable” (Under the Sand), starring Charlotte Rampling, Panahi sold his next outing, “8 Femmes,” to USA Films for a $1 million dollars.

At Cannes, Panahi is flogging the new Ozon project, which is in the script stage. Pic stars Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier.

“He’s so smart,” says Panahi, about Ozon. “He chose two actresses who speak English and French, so he can direct them in French.”

Film is about an English best-selling author (Rampling) whose routine is interrupted by the arrival of her publisher’s daughter (Sagnier).

Panahi is also pre-selling Jacques Rivette’s “Marie and Julien,” starring Emmanuelle Beart and Jerzy Radziwilowicz, from a pitch.

This year, Panahi has been so busy flogging pics, she’s had little time to concentrate on the consortium of European distributors she’s put together, a plan announced last year at Mifed.

At the time, Panahi said that the companies would produce and buy films together; now she admits they have not yet found the right project.

“At this stage, we’re sharing information and thinking about the best way to proceed,” Panahi explains. “I like the luxury of this channel of communication. Usually I don’t get this kind of information from distributors and the distributors don’t receive the information I have as a sales agent.”

One thing is very clear to Panahi as she sets up shop on the Croisette. The current mode of film negotiations is outmoded and doesn’t fit today’s market.

“We have to reinvent the way we’re working,” she declares. “It’s old-fashioned and no longer works. We have to redistribute revenues differently.”

Celluloid Dreams is also handling four official selections: “Le Fils,” by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne; “Unknown Pleasures” by Jia Zhangke ; “Kedma” by Amos Gitai and “Russian Ark” by Alexander Sokurov.

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