Duo to nurture Mickle's thrillers

French shingles Wild Side Films and Memento Films are partnering on genre helmer Jim Mickle’s next two projects: “Cold in July” and “Night Hunter.”

Wild Side will distribute in France; Memento Films will handle international sales.

Mickle’s previous film, “Stake Land,” won the Toronto Midnight nod in 2010. The helmer is about to start shooting “We Are What We Are,” an English-language remake of Jorge Michel Grau’s cult cannibal pic “Somos lo que hay,” which was pre-sold to Entertainment One for U.K. distribution and other territories.

An adaptation of Joe R. Landsdale’s novel, the Texas-set “Cold in July” is described as a suspenser in the vein of “A History of Violence” and “Blood Simple.”

“Night Hunter” is an original script penned by Mickle and his regular scribe partner Nick Damici. Set in 19th-century America, it is described as a mix of “The Grey,” “Game of Thrones” and “The New World.”

“I’m beyond thrilled to bring Joe Lansdale back to the bigscreen, (and I’ve) waited most of my life to make a wild movie like ‘Night Hunter,’?” Mickle said.

Deal was struck by Manuel Chiche for Wild Side Films and Emilie Georges for MFI.

Wild Side has been following emerging genre directors and structured similar slate deals with some of them, notably Ben Wheatley, Nicolas Winding Refn and Park Chan-wook.

“When I saw ‘Stake Land,’ I was blown away by all the excellent ideas in a movie done for such a reasonable budget,” Chiche said.

Georges said she “couldn’t think of a better coupling” (with Wild Side). “Manuel and his team … have an incredible nose for the next big genre director.”

Memento co-produces and reps a wide variety of upscale arthouse films, from “A Separation” helmer Asghar Farhadi’s next film, which will star Marion Cotillard; to Laurent Cantet’s English-language debut “Foxfire.” It’s also selling worldwide rights to Mickle’s “We Are What We Are” at Cannes.

Nicolas Kaiser, MFI’s sales executive, said the success of “Drive” has boosted the appeal of well-polished, elevated genre films like Mickle’s work.

Both “Night Hunter” and “Cold in July” are being produced by Rene Bastian and Linda Moran’s Belladonna Productions and exec produced by Memento’s Georges, Tanja Meissner, and Nicholas Shumaker.

“Cold in July” will shoot first, aiming for a start date in Q1 2013.

Mickle is managed by Jeremy Platt at Generate.

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