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France’s Colifilms grabs ‘Sweet Mud’

Israeli film to be released Dec. 16 on four prints

PARIS — Colifilms Diffusion has taken all French rights to “Adama Meshuga’at” (Sweet Mud), the second feature film from Israeli filmmaker Dror Shaul.

Based on Shaul’s unhappy childhood in a kibbutz, “Mud” took a Sundance special jury award in the 2007 World Cinema Dramatic Competition. Colifilms will release “Mud” in French theaters Dec. 16.

“Mud” joins other recent Colifilms bows, which include Gerardo Olivares’ immigration drama “14 Kilometers,” Venezuelan guerrillero portrait “Cartas postales de Leningrado,” from Mariana Rondon, and two French titles, Yvon Marciano’s celebratory twentysomething friendship drama “Vivre!” and Jean Achache’s romantic drama “A Night at the Club,” which went out last month.

Colifilms releases around six films a year in France. It buys all rights, but, unlike many French distributors, will acquire films without necessarily a prior pay TV pick-up from Arte France and Canal Plus, which puts up 50% of distributors’ P&A.

“It is a luxury to be independent,” Colifilms founder Mima Fleurent said Friday at the Catalan Screenings in Paris.

But life isn’t getting any easier for indie distribs.

“Mud” will go out on four copies, opening first in Paris and big French cities such as Lyon and Bordeaux. The copies will then be shunted around France in a staggered release, reaching around 100 screens over two-to-three years.

“14 Kilometers” saw a 22-print run, “Cartas” 12.

“In France, like so many European countries, there used to be an arthouse circuit that played art films. Now they’re screening many more mainstream pics: it’s increasingly difficult to get playdates,” Fleurent said.

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