Private screenings sway sales even before crix weigh in

Underscoring the marquee value of heavyweight auteurs, Mexican Carlos Reygadas’ “Post tenebras lux,” which bows in Cannes competition Thursday, has struck several sales deals at Cannes.

Pacts are the first for NoDreamMantarraya (NDM), the sales operation launched by Reygadas via his NoDream Cinema shingle, and Jaime Romandia, his longterm producer at Mantarraya Producciones, in February. Headed by Fiorella Moretti, NDM made its market debut at Cannes.

In the wake of two private screenings, with buyers not waiting to gauge press reception, “Lux” has closed Italy (Archibald Film), Benelux (Wild Bunch Netherlands), Poland (Festival New Horizons), Greece (Ama Films), Portugal (Midas Filmes), ex-Yugoslavia (MCF) and Denmark (Ost For Pardis).

Jean Labadie’s Le Pacte, sales agent and French distrib partner on Reygadas’ films, handles Gaul and is selling Spain and Switzerland; the Match Factory, a “Lux” producer, is selling German rights.

The U.S., U.K. and Russia are under negotiations and will close shortly, Romandia said at Cannes.

Reygadas’ followup to 2007’s “Silent Light,” which won Cannes’ jury prize, “Lux” turns on a family living in the countryside in Mexico.

Pic tops a slate that includes Amat Escalante’s drug cartel drama “Heli,” the feature film debut of Reygadas a.d. Alex Ezpeleta, “Cacahuete,” and Mantarraya partner Pablo Aldrete’s alternative Western, “Rio de oro.”

The duo has set up a distribution company in Mexico: NDMantarraya.

Its pickups for Mexico include “Alps,” “Elles,” and Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” which screened in competition here.

“Heli” and “Cacahuete” are Mantarraya productions.

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