It’s been a shaky year for film markets, with buyers lamenting the lack of sexy product.
At the American Film Market in Santa Monica, the general refrain was: Let’s see what Berlin brings. As Berlin wrapped, it became: Let’s see what happens in Cannes.
Talk to veteran international sales reps heading for the French Riviera, and they assure that the market at Cannes will be strong, with a number of fresh new projects set to be unveiled. That’s the promise, anyway.
“It seemed to me that a lot of people went to Berlin just to feel things out. A lot of projects weren’t really ready to begin selling. Most people were just ramping up for Cannes,” one longtime sales agent says.
Or, put another way, “There are a lot of buyers who need movies,” says Lionsgate Intl. prexy Nick Meyer.
Some also speculate that buyers will be more interested this go-round in out-of-competition films vs. official fest titles.
A sampling of buzzy titles headed for market:
Behind the Sin
Directors: Andrew Lau, Alan Mak
Cast: Tony Leung Chiu-wai
Summary: Reteaming “Infernal Affairs” helming duo with Leung, project is now in pre-production. Hong Kong pic centers on a detective who helps a pal (possibly heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro) investigate his father-in-law’s death.
Sales: Media Asia
Be Kind Rewind
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Jack Black
Summery: Gondry also penned the screenplay for this offbeat comedy, in which Black plays a man who becomes magnetized and accidentally erases all the tapes in a vidstore. He and his friend then save the day by re-enacting some of the films. Pic is being produced by Gondry’s manager, Partizan Films’ Georges Bermann.
Sales: Focus Intl.
The Dead Girl
Director: Karen Moncrieff (“Blue Car”)
Cast: Toni Collette, Marcia Gay Harden, James Franco, Mary Steenburgen, Giovanni Ribisi, Mary Beth Hurt, Rose Byrne, Brittany Murphy, Josh Brolin, Kerry Washington, Nic Searcy, Piper Laurie
Summary: In the vein of “Crash” or “21 Grams,” ensemble mystery is about a young woman’s brutal murder, and the various lives she touches.
Director: Vadim Perelman (“House of Sand and Fog”)
Cast: Uma Thurman
Summary: A woman goes to a commemoration for a shooting at the high school she attended years earlier.
Sales: 2929 Intl.
La Vie en rose
Director: Olivier Dahan (“Crimson Rivers 2”)
Cast: Marion Cotillard
Summary: Currently in production and produced by Alain Goldman, biopic of legendary chanteuse Edith Piaf is sure to feature her memorable tunes including the title song and “Non, je ne regrette rien.”
Sales: TF1 Intl.
Love in the Time of Cholera
Director: Mike Newell
Cast: Javier Bardem, Giovanna Mezzogiorno (“Don’t Tell”)
Summary: “The Pianist” scribe Ronald Harwood adapts Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel of unrequited love in Latin America. Pricey drama ($35 million-$40 million) starts shooting in August and is a Stone Village Pictures production.
Sales: Summit Entertainment (New Line has domestic)
Spring Break in Bosnia
Directed: Richard Sheppard (“Matador”)
Cast: Richard Gere, Terrence Howard
Summary: Project was carefully nurtured by ousted Warner Independent Pictures prexy Mark Gill, but put in turnaround upon the instruction of big Warners. The Weinstein Co. quickly swooped in and picked up North America, New Zealand and Australia rights. Intermedia, which was in on the project from its inception, is now producing and financing with Bill Block’s newly launched QED Intl.
Sales: QED Intl.
10 Items or Less
Director: Brad Silberling
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Paz Vega, Bobby Cannavale
Summary: Co-financed by Freeman’s Revelation Entertainment and Intel, comedy pairs Freeman and Vega as strangers whose chance meeting in a Los Angeles neighborhood over the course of one day creates an unexpected bond. Intel will offer pic for download two weeks after theatrical release Stateside.
Sales: Myriad Pictures
Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro
Cast: Yusuke Santa Maria, Manami Konishi
Summary: The Japanese dramedy about the vexed relationship between an aspiring comic and his bullheaded noodlemaker father, is one of the big crossover hopes out of the red-hot FujiTV pic stable. While not part of boffo “Bayside Shakedown” franchise, project borrows its helmer, star and producer, Chihiro Kameyama. In post.
Untitled Woody Allen project
Director: Wood Allen
Summary: After his return to form with “Match Point,” hopes are high that Allen’s next pic, shooting in London this summer, will be another ace. Allen describes it as a “murder romantic comedy with a Hitchcockian touch.”
Sales: Wild Bunch.
You Kill Me
Director: John Dahl
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni, Luke Wilson
Summary: Penned by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (“The Chronicles of Narnia”), mob laffer is in the tradition of Dahl’s other films, such as “Married to the Mob.” Kingsley plays a hit man who is sent to the West Coast to dry out, joins A.A. and gets a job in a mortuary. Code Entertainment is producing with production shingle BiPolar Prods., Carol Baum Inc. and Mike Marcus’ Echo Lake Prods.
Sales: Capitol Films