Sales pact boosts Italo-Franco axis

Celluloid Dreams has taken international rights outside Italy to Daniele Luchetti’s comedy “Mythological Story of My Family,” produced by Cattleya.

Closed on the Lido, deal consolidates a two-year alliance between two of Europe’s best-known film players: Roberto Tozzi’s Cattleya, Italy’s leading indie production player, and Hengameh Panahi’s Paris-based sales-production-financing combo, Celluloid Dreams.

Written by Luchetti, Catarina Venturini and “The Best of Youth” scribes Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli, “Mythology” is a semi-autobiographical account of Luchetti’s childhood.

Set in Rome in summer 1974, story is told from the point of view of a 10-year-old boy whose mum abandons him and his dad (Kim Rossi Stuart, “Romanzo criminale”) after she falls for another woman.Micaela Ramazzotti (“The First Beautiful Thing”) and Martina Gedeck (“The Lives of Others”) co-star.

Rolling September in Rome and Milan, “Family” is already seen as a Cannes contender. Luchetti’s “Our Life” screened in Cannes competition in 2010; 2007′s “My Brother Is an Only Child” played Un Certain Regard.

“Family” is the fourth Cattleya-produced title acquired by Celluloid Dreams for international in the past two years, following on the heels of “Our Life,” Cristina Comencini’s “When the Night,” which competed last year at Venice, and Marco Bellocchio’s current competish player, “Dormant Beauty.”

The Celluloid Dreams relationship has become increasingly vital for Cattleya as it looks for overseas revenues to replace increasingly scarce funding in Italy, particularly after the decline in domestic distribution and TV rights deals from Medusa and Rai Cinema, which were once near-automatic for Italo players.

Celluloid Dreams has also repped the previous five Bellocchio movies, from “Good Morning, Night,” despite Bellocchio changing producers.

“In the past, many local markets were far more vibrant. International was just the cherry on the pie,” Panahi said. “Today, international has become so vital and so strong that even if directors change producers, sales companies don’t necessarily lose them.”

Celluloid Dreams’ relationship with Office Kitano covers all its 11 titles since 1995, including Sunday’s Venice Golden Lion contender, “Outrage Beyond.”

Panahi said, “Celluloid Dreams’ motto has been to always build longterm relationships with partners based on trust and understanding as our business is about strong longterm choices and visions and not about opportunism.”

She added that Celluloid Dreams’ role can also expand, according to a producer’s need, to financing and production.

(Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report.)

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