Films Distribution cleans up on 'Lazhar,' 'Cat'

MADRID — Films Distribution has tied down a slew of sales on Berlin Competition players Brillante Mendoza’s “Captive” and Kim Nguyen’s “War Witch.”

Underscoring the impact of Academy Award nominations, Films Distribution also saw sterling extra sales on Oscar contenders “Monsieur Lazhar” and “A Cat in Paris.”

A fact-based Filipino hostage crisis starring Isabelle Huppert as one of the abductees, “Captive” closed Italy with Nomad Film in a “very good, six-figure deal,” said Films Distribution partner Nicolas Brigaud-Robert.

“Captive” clinched Poland (AP Manana), Brazil (Providence Filmes), Greece and Switzerland (Trigon-Film). Scandinavia is being signed, said Brigaud-Robert.

“Captive” was made by Didier Costet’s Swift Prods., Mendoza’s longtime producer, at a significantly higher budget than Mendoza’s norm.

“We managed to get Mendoza to more mainstream distributors: Intentions met reality,” said Brigaud-Robert.

“War Witch” won Rachel Mwanza an actress Silver Bear for her perf as a girl-soldier in a harrowing African civil war.

It sold France (Happiness Distribution), Imagine (Benelux), Switzerland (Agora Films) and Poland (Against Gravity). A U.S. deal is pending, Brigaud-Robert said.

“With ‘War Witch’ screening so late at Berlin, any sales at all in Berlin is a very good sign,” he added.

Following multiple earlier deals, “Lazhar” sold 14 more territories in Berlin, including the U.K. (Soda Pictures), Mexico (Canana), Norway (Europa Film), Denmark (Ost for Paradise) and South Korea (Aud).

Introduced at 2011’s Berlin, “Cat” has racked up 30-plus territory deals. Berlin dealings included an HBO Latin America pact, Brigaud Robert said.

Films Distribution’s Berlin trading was “brisk and definitely above-average,” he added, echoing other sales agents with high-profile English-language pics.

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