Sales mount up for helmer Seidl's trilogy
Underscoring the popularity of Austrian helmer Ulrich Seidl on the arthouse circuit, Philippe Bober’s Coproduction Office has inked a flurry of sales deals on the director’s “Paradise” trilogy.The trilogy comprises Kenya-set “Paradise: Love,” which competed this year at Cannes; “Paradise: Faith,” in the race for Venice’s Golden Lion; and “Paradise: Hope,” currently in post. The pic package has gone to Austria (Stadtkino), Belgium (Lumiere), CIS (Maywin), Denmark (Ost for Paradis), France (Happiness), Germany (Neue Visionen), Greece (Feelgood), Italy (Archibald and Academy 2), Luxembourg (Lumiere), Netherlands (Eye Institut), Norway (AS Fidalgo), Poland (Against Gravity), South Korea (World Cinema), Spain (Golem), Sweden (Triart) and the U.K. (Soda Pictures). Following “Love’s” Cannes opening, Paris-based Coproduction Office closed deals with Argentina (Lat-E), Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Costa Rica (LaRed), Hong Kong (Edko Films), Israel (Orlando Films), Mexico, (Mantarraya & Interior 13) plus other territories including Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. The trilogy’s first opus explored sex tourism through the tale of a middle-aged Austrian women looking for young lovers on Kenyan beaches. “Faith” turns on the relationship between Anna-Maria (Maria Hofstatter), a fervent Christian who devotes her vacation to missionary work, and her husband, a Egyptian Muslim (Nabil Saleh) who returns home after years of absence. Meanwhile, “Hope” centers on a 13-year-old girl sent to a diet camp for overweight teenagers who falls in love with the camp doctor, a man 40 years her senior. Seidl, who began his career as a documentary filmmaker, achieved international recognition with his feature debut “Hundstage” (Dogs Day), winner of Venice’s 2001 Grand Jury nod. His “Import Export” preemed in competition at Cannes in 2007. “Seidl’s background in documentary is a real strength — his films are always better than on paper because lots of unexpected things often happen during the shooting that enrich the narration,” said Coproduction Office prexy Bober. “He’s a director who enjoys a dedicated audience because his films are uncompromising, very personal and often stir emotion and surprise,” Bober added. Meanwhile, the Coproduction Office has inked a raft of sales on Spiros Stathoulopoulos’ “Meteora,” a tale of forbidden love between a Greek Orthodox monk and a nun at an isolated monastic establishment. Pic sold to Austria (X-Verleih), Belgium (ABC Distribution), Brazil (Mostra Intl.), Denmark (Ost for Paradis), Germany (X-Verleih), Mexico (Cineteca Nacional), Netherlands (ABC Distribution), Poland and Switzerland (Frenetic) plus the CIS, Czech Republic and Luxembourg. Launched in 1987 by Bober, the Coproduction Office sells and co-produces upscale, edgy arthouse films. Over the years, it has discovered and nurtured new talent, including Jessica Hausner, Michelangelo Frammartino and Roy Andersson.