France's Bac Films vindicate new sales strategy

SAN SEBASTIAN — Vindicating its new international sales strategy, France’s Bac Films has kicked off sales on San Sebastian Competition player “Americano,” plus Toronto hit “Sleepless Night.”

Co-starring Salma Hayek in her first French role, “Americano” marks the directorial debut of actor-turned-writer-helmer Mathieu Demy, son of Agnes Varda and Jacques Demy, who’s honored by a 2011 San Sebastian retrospective.

A semi-autobiographical emotional odyssey, “Americano” follows Martin (Demy), a Paris real estate agent, who travels to Los Angeles, where he grew up, to settle his dead mother’s affairs. Troubled by memories, he takes off to Tijuana, meeting his mother’s close friend Lola (Hayek), who dances at Americano, a sex club.

Geraldine Chaplin and Chiara Mastroianni (“Chicken With Plums”) co-star.

After its Toronto world preem, “Americano” was acquired for Benelux (Imagine Film Distribution), Brazil (California Filmes) and Colombia (Babilla Cine).

As previously reported, MPI Media Group acquired North American rights, and is planning a spring theatrical release.

Bac releases in France this December.

Meanwhile, Frederic Jardin’s “Sleepless Night,” a nightclub-set thriller with Tomer Sisley (“Largo Winch”), closed U.K. (Icon), Canada (eOne), Brazil (California) and China (Domo Media).

Major territory pre-sales include Germany (Tiberius Film) and Russia (Luxor Ent.); U.S. and Japan are under negotiation.

“An art movie with commercial elements,” “Americano’s” San Sebastian selection is “key,” said Bac’s Gilles Sousa, because it will play before general audiences. A Spain sale depends on how well it screens, he added.

Under Bac owner Roch Lerner, Sousa has been upped to Bac Films sales head, and former Funny Balloons exec Mathieu Robinet tapped as sales-acquisitions exec.

Bac now focuses on fewer films for international, aims for early acquisitions, no longer requires its pickups to snag distribution via Bac in France, and is “free to acquire films which are more compatible with international markets,” Sousa said at San Sebastian.

The sales company will also “get back into festivals.”

Another Bac title, “The Invader,” from Belgian avant-garde visual artist Nicolas Provost, plays San Sebastian’s fest fave sidebar Zabaltegi Pearls.

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