France's Realitism Forms Distribution Arm (EXCLUSIVE)

Company acquires 'Pussy Riot: a Punk Prayer'

PARIS – Realitism, the Paris-based producer behind Quentin Dupieux’s Sundance player “Wrong,” is bowing an acquisition and distribution division, kicking off with the all-rights’ pickup of “Pussy Riot: a Punk Prayer.”

Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s documentary, repped by Goldcrest, premiered at Sundance to warm reviews. Doc chronicles four young punk rockers belonging to Russia’s Pussy Riots feminist art collective, which was formed in 2011 in protest against the re-election of President Vladimir Putin.

Gregory Bernard’s Realitism has also tapped international sales vet Pierre Weisbein, who previously held key positions at Studiocanal and L.A.-based Senator Intl., to oversee business development, handle sales and financing in English-speaking territories, and head acquisitions, along with Diane Jassem and Christine Ponelle.

Bernard said Realitism Distribution will create inventive campaigns for its in-house productions as well as third-party acquisitions.

The division will release Dupieux’s Cannes-preeming directorial debut “Rubber” and his “Wrong” on VOD and DVD. Bernard said Realitism Distribution will also likely keep French rights to Dupieux’s latest pic, Marilyn Manson starrer “Wrong Cops.”

The trailer played in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight and a rough cut screened in Sundance’s New Frontier section. Pic’s edit will be completed in April.

More producers are keeping distribution rights to their films, particularly when they have a better chance of performing well on VOD and DVD rather than in theaters.

This is driven by two factors: many established distribs don’t give minimum guarantees for indie pics with limited theatrical potential nowadays and they seldom spend enough on P&A to give them a real shot.

Plus, France’s theater circuit is almost fully converted to digital, making theatrical distribution more accessible to independent producers looking for flexible models.

Day-and-date rollout for VOD and theatrical is forbidden in France due to strict release. This is being re-examined by Gallic film and TV industryites.

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