Unifrance's cinema/marketing event kicks off

Vera Belmont’s “Surviving With Wolves,” Dennis Gansel’s “The Wave” and Jean-Paul Salome’s “Female Agents” are among new films at Unifrance’s 10th Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, which kicked off Thursday night with a cocktail party at Paris’ opulent Grand Hotel.

The Rendez-Vous, a four-day market-cum-screenings event, also launches sales shingle Elle Driver, founded by seasoned agents Eva Diederix and Adeline Fontan Tessaur. Shingle hits the ground running, selling Fred Cavaye’s sentimental thriller “Anything for Her.”

Rendez-Vous gala screenings feature Gilles Legrand’s “The Maiden and the Wolves,” with Laetitia Casta, and toon pic “Dragon Hunters,” spinning off Futurikon’s popular animated series. 

Sales agents’ Rendez-Vous strategies are partly determined by its constituency, as well as its timing one month before the Berlin Film Festival.

“Most Rendez-Vous buyers are European. We’ll see Asian and Latin American distributors at Berlin,” Diederix said.

In Paris, Celluloid Dreams will make a major push on “Wave” before it screens at Sundance, working off the premise that most buyers in Paris won’t make it to Park City, Utah.

The Rendez-Vous underscores French films’ range and ambition.

TF1 will hold a private screening for “Agents,” starring Sophie Marceau and Julie Depardieu as kick-ass commandos.

Also market preeming, Wild Bunch’s “Wolves” targets families with the story of a young girl adopted by wolves after her foster family try to shop her to Nazi authorities. Pic bowed well in Belgium.

Also likely to spark sales is Gilles de Maistre’s Wild Bunch-sold documentary on human birth on a planetary scale, “The First Cry.” Made as an audience-pleaser, “Cry” is produced by Bonne Pioche (“March of the Penguins,” “The Fox & the Child”).

Roissy bows romantic comedy “Perfect Match?” with Carole Bouquet.

The Rendez-Vous isn’t just about screenings. UGC Intl. will be talking up first-timer Philippe Claudel’s Kristin Scott Thomas starrer “I’ve Loved You So Long,” which is getting good buzz, before it screens at Berlin.

Among new projects, Wild Bunch has the French star-studded “A Christmas Tale.”

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