MK2 pumps up its prod’n, distrib ops

Plans to distrib a dozen pics annually

CANNES — Gallic minimajor MK2 is ramping up production and distribution, and has taken French rights to hot Cannes titles “Confession of Pain,” Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s follow-up to “Infernal Affairs,” and Directors Fortnight title “Anche libero va bene” (Along the Ridge).

Latter pic, a family drama billed as one of the sidebar’s more mainstream offerings, is helmed by Italian thesp Kim Rossi Stuart.

In Cannes on Friday, Nathanael Karmitz, managing director of the family owned company, said MK2 will produce three to four movies a year, co-produce the same number and acquire enough pics to theatrically distribute 12 a year.

Karmitz says he is at ease about taking over the day-to-day running of the biz from his father Marin Karmitz, even though he is only 27.

“I’ve been working for 10 years,” points out the topper, who boasts of creating his first company aged 17. “MK2 has a history and I want to respect and perpetuate it in a modern way.”

New push into production and distribution follows E50 million ($63 million) investment over the past five years in two new Paris multiplexes.

Company is the French capital’s third-biggest exhibitor with 64 screens, repping an 18% market share — or around 50 million admissions a year.

“Production and distribution were on the back burner because we wanted to concentrate on the new theaters,” Karmitz said. “But now we are getting back to our previous levels of activity.”

On MK2’s production slate are Olivier Assayas’ “Boarding Gate,” with Asia Argento as a prostitute in the world of high finance; “The Legacy,” Gela Babluani’s follow-up to the MK2-produced “13 Tzemati,” co-helmed with Temour Babluani, Gela’s father; and “The Cathars,” a $14 million medieval epic to be helmed by Jean-Pierre Denis.

Among Cannes titles, MK2 also plans a theatrical and DVD release of Gus Van Sant’s first film, “Mala noche,” made in 1985.

MK2 is also handling international sales on the out-of-competition docu “Requiem for Billy the Kid.”

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