Jacques Audiard's drama made waves at Cannes

A risk taker and a meticulous filmmaker, Jacques Audiard took three years to make “A Prophet,” a thriller that touches on sensitive subjects like immigration and race relations in France. His bold choices in casting — mostly using non-pros — and production design — re-creating a jail environment, which hiked the budget to $17 million — paid off at Cannes with rave reviews and a Jury Grand Prix.

Hengameh Panahi, topper of pic’s sales company and co-producer Celluloid Dreams, says “A Prophet” nailed few pre-sales partly because of its subject matter, but truly became a must-see after its Cannes screening. Pic then got picked up in most territories, including in the U.S., where it will go out through Sony Pictures Classics, Canada, Japan and the U.K. Toronto reaction will be important.

Up next, Audiard is looking to adapt Craig Davidson’s dark thriller “Rust and Bones,” which will likely be produced by longtime producing partner Pascal Caucheteux.

Caucheteux, who has also had a stellar year with Ken Loach’s “Looking for Eric,” will produce the next films from Arnaud Desplechin (“A Christmas Tale”) and Jean-Francois Richet (“Public Enemy No. 1″).

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