Euro major sees sales across lineup
PARIS — Euro major StudioCanal has rolled out major sales across its Cannes lineup, led by Competition titles “The Princess of Montpensier” and “Outside the Law.”Cannes also saw further deals on “Carlos” and “Brighton Rock,” plus first pacts on new U.K. production “Awakening.” A Cannes Competition hit, Bertrand Tavernier’s large-scale 16th century political love story “Montpensier” has sold to Canada (Axia), Latin America (CDC United Network), Australia (Madman) and Greece (Village Roadshow). At Cannes, “Montpensier” was also licensed to IFC Films for the U.S. in what Harold Van Lier, StudioCanal exec VP of international sales, describes as the biggest deal on a French title. CDC, a pan-Latin America distribution specialist, also bought rights to “Law,” “Awakening” and “Carlos.” Australian indie Madman closed “Law,” “Rock” and French romcom “The Perfect Date.” A retelling of Algeria’s struggle for independence in France from an Algerian POV, Rachid Bouchareb’s “Outside the Law” clinched Scandinavia with Atlantic Film and Singapore with Cathay. StudioCanal is fielding multiple other territory offers and the U.S. is in talks, Van Lier said. StudioCanal’s U.K. and German distribution ops, Optimum Releasing and Kinowelt, which traditionally handle two to three French films a year, have exercised a first option to distribute both “Montpensier” and “Law.” Olivier Assayas’ Cannes standout “Carlos,” which sold at Cannes to Spain’s Alta, was also picked up by Optimum and will have a multi-platform release from IFC and Sundance Channel for the U.S. “Carlos” is co-produced by Germany’s Egoli Tossell, which has tied down German distribution via NFP. When a U.S. deal is closed on “Law,” with StudioCanal distributing “Law,” “Montpensier” and “Carlos” in France, all three titles will have closed the four biggest markets for foreign-language titles in the world. On Optimum’s U.K. productions, supernatural thriller “The Awakening” made an eyecatching pre-sale to Eagle, one of Italy’s biggest mainstream buyers. Among other territories sold: Gulf for Middle East and Village Roadshow for Greece. “Awakening” rolls June 27. Optimum’s first U.K. production, Rowan Joffe’s “Brighton Rock,” with Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough and Helen Mirren, continued to roll out pre-sales to Canada (Alliance) and Scandinavia (Panvision). “Rock” is tipped for Toronto. Of further French productions, Gerard Depardieu starrer “My Afternoons With Margueritte,” from Jean Becker (“Conversations With My Gardener”), pre-sold to Australia (Icon), Scandinavia (Atlantic), Canada (Mongrel), Mexico (Quality), Argentina (CDI) and Israel (Orlando) following pickups at Berlin from Germany’s Concorde, one of the country’s strongest distributors, and top Spanish arthouse distribbery Golem. Co-produced by StudioCanal and helmed by Dominique Farrugia and Arnaud Lemort, “Date” was licensed to Russia (Film Depot) and Taiwan (Swallow Wings). Released May 5, “Date” has grossed a first two-week $5.3 million in France. Van Lier said Cannes 2010 business was comparable to 2009′s despite the lack of a real driver, such as “Sammy Adventures” last year. However, “business was much more evenly spread across a stronger lineup generally, a sign that our investments in local productions with more international appeal is slowly paying off in France, U.K. and potentially Germany.