Distrib makes first acquisition in Cannes

UGC-U.K. made its first acquisition in Cannes the U.K. rights to Argentine helmer Fabian Bielinsky’s upcoming pic, “El Aura,” paying between $200,000 and $300,000.

Buyer interest has been riding high for the $2.8 million psychological thriller from the helmer of “Nine Queens.”

Pablo Bossi, producer and president of top Argentine shingle Patagonik Film Group, has been in Cannes to field pre-sales offers and close its pending co-production deal with Spain’s Tornasol Films.

France, Australia, the U.S. and other major territories are expected to step up with their offers. Buena Vista Intl., which owns a third of Patagonik, owns the Latin American distribution rights and has the first option for other territories.

“We may even strike an international sales deal for the rest of the world,” Bossi said.

Sony Pictures Classics released “Nine Queens” in the U.S. where it grossed $1.2 million.

Steven Soderbergh’s and George Clooney’s Section Eight remade the heist caper with thesps John C. Reilly and Diego Luna. Retitled “Criminal,” it is the directorial debut of Gregory Jacobs. Warner Independent Pictures is slated to release it in September. Lions Gate acquired international sales rights to remaining territories.

Bielinsky, who will be in Cannes for the first time, is polishing the script for “El Aura” (a working title) with Ricardo Darin attached to play the lead.

Darin also starred in “Nine Queens” and the Oscar-nominated “Son of the Bride” by Juan Jose Campanella.

Darin will play a taxidermist with delusions about planning the perfect crime. Bielinsky plans to start shooting the pic in Argentina’s remote region of Patagonia in October.

Patagonik has also been presenting animated feature “Patoruzito” which opens in Argentina on July 8. Spain’s Latido will handle international sales. Other Patagonik product in Cannes include local hits “Cleopatra,” Luis Puenzo’s “La puta y la ballena” (The Whore and the Whale) and “Seres queridos.”

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