'Villegas,' 'Sirga,' 'Playa' snag French distribution

CANNES — French distribution rights have been nabbed on three Cannes fest titles, Gonzalo Tobal’s “Villegas,” William Vega’s “La Sirga” and Juan Andres Arango’s “La Playa,” all of which were co-produced by Thierry Lenouvel’s Cine-Sud.

“Villegas” received a Cannes’ special screening. “Sirga” plays Directors’ Fortnight and “La Playa” is in Un Certain Regard.

“Villegas” will be distributed by Epicentre Films. Pic is repped by Urban Distribution Intl.

Zootrope Films releases “Sirga” theatrically Oct. 1. Cinepex distributes in Colombia and Ama Films in Greece.

France’s Jour2Fete will distribute “La Playa.”

“La Sirga” has sparked “strong interest” in the U.S, U.K., Japan, Scandinavia, Benelux and Switzerland, said its sales agent Pierre Menahem, at MPM Film.

Marking a trend in Latin American movies, all three films take a classical Hollywood narrative — the coming of age drama — and play off it pointedly.

“Villegas” contrasts two near-30s cousins’ differing attitudes toward settling down; in the exquisitely-shot and framed “La Sirga,” a girl whose family has been massacred flees to her uncle’s high-Andes’ guesthouse, tries to start again, but, fearful of violence, finally moves on.

Sold by Doc & Film Intl., “La Playa” charts the attempts of an Afro-Colombian teenager to find a place in life, however humble, on Bogota’s mean streets. Both his brothers fail.

“All France’s exhibitors are in Cannes, so it’s important to attach a distributor to begin marketing films for their release,” Lenouvel said.

Also, art pics’ upbeat French box office can encourage further overseas territory sales.

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