Unifrance Paris showcase kicks off Wednesday

Dany Boon’s Pathe-sold “Nothing to Declare” and Wild Bunch’s “The Burma Conspiracy” will market preem at the 13th Unifrance Paris Rendez-Vous With French Cinema, adding bigger-budget heft to the event.

Rendez-Vous opens today with “A Cat in Paris,” the third toon from Folimage (“Mia and the Migoo”). Hand-drawn in 2D, with Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol directing, “Cat” is produced by “Mia” director Jacques-Remy Girerd.

Event will screen 78 French movies, including 41 market preems, in six days. They include a medley of action/horror pics, such as Julien Leclercq’s “The Assault,” Olivier Abbou’s “Territories” and Fred Cavaye’s “Point Blank,” underscoring that France, though better known for auteur fare, also boasts a strong line in testosterone-fueled genre fare.

“Nothing to Declare” is set at a France-Belgium customs post and, like Boon’s B.O. phenom “Welcome to the Sticks,” is a romantic comedy co-starring Boon and ribbing absurd prejudice. It has already closed deals for multiple territories.

Helmed by Jerome Salle, “The Burma Conspiracy” stars Tomer Sisley reprising his “Largo Winch” role as heir to a billionaire mogul.

Building pre-RDV buzz, and retelling the story of the 1994 Air France hijacking, the Elle Driver-sold “Assault” is Leclercq’s follow-up to high-octane sci-fi actioner “Chrysalis.”

Horror pic “Territories,” set in a Guantanamo-ish prison camp, is SND-M6 Group’s first venture into English-language production. It comes from “The Horde” producers Capture the Flag.

“Blank,” Cavaye’s sophomore outing, is an unrelenting actioner with Gilles Lellouche on an 80-minute sprint to save his kidnapped pregnant wife. Cavaye’s “Anything for Her” was remade Stateside as Russell Crowe starrer “The Next Three Days.”

Period chiller “Behind the Walls,” France’s first live-action 3D movie, will be seen in a four-minute promo. MK2 unveils Macao-set thriller “Stretch,” from Charles de Meaux.

Spangled by films from emerging talent, the Paris RDV is shaping up as a showcase for a diverse generation of filmmakers — directors and producers — who debuted in the past decade.

Some traditionally work outside genre.

Helmer Thierry Klifa has been steadily building his reputation since 2004. His debut “I’ve Been Waiting so Long” garnered €5.3 million ($6.8 million) and excellent reviews, and “Family Hero” took $5.3 million, and played Colcoa. His latest pic is “Eyes,” a romantic suspenser being sold by Kinology, and the latest from LGM Cinema (“Rivals,” “MR73″ and “Point Blank”).

Also produced by LGM, market-preeming “Jo’s Boy,” from first-time helmer Philippe Guillard, is described by Gaumont’s Cecile Gaget as “a kind of ‘Billy Elliot’ in the rugby world of France’s south west.”

Bac Films presents “Borderline,” Alexandre Coffre’s comedy debut, from “Heartbreaker” producers Quad.

Wild Bunch unveils “The Moon Child,” an offbeat relationship drama from Delphine Gleize (“Carnage”), plus Nicolas Cuche’s romantic comedy “Second Chance,” currently France’s B.O. champ, with a first frame $2.6 million.

From established talent, RDV preems EuropaCorp-repped “The Long Falling,” reteaming director Martin Provost and “Seraphine” star Yolande Moreau, plus F.J. Ossang’s Venice Horizons player “Dharma Guns.” Pic is sold by U Media.

Jean-Pierre Ameris’ “Romantics Anonymous,” about two shy chocolate makers, has racked up warm reviews and strong French B.O. of $6.3 million in 19 days. Pic is sold by StudioCanal.

Screenings also afford sneak peeks of two toons in progress: 10-20 minutes from Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux’s TF1 Intl.-sold “The Rabbi’s Cat” and an exclusive trailer from Michel Ocelot’s “Tales of the Night 3D.”

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