CANNES: Underscoring the still enduring attraction of movies from a select number of much-courted auteurs, Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s much-anticipated “Leviathan,” is on track to sell out near all the world, of major territories, by Cannes market end.
“Leviathan” plays in competition tomorrow at Cannes.
On the Croisette, Pyramide Intl. has closed a brace of deals on Zvyagintsev’s follow-up to “Elena,” licensing Portugal (Leopardo Filmes), Hong Kong (Edko Films), Taiwan (Pomi Intl.), Scandinavia (Non Stop) and Israel (Lev Films).
Pyramide will release “Leviathan” in France on Sept. 24.
There is strong interest from the U.S. and Canada, Italy, Mexico and Argentina, said Pyramide Intl. sales head Lucero Garzon, adding that she aimed to closed these territories by market end.
That would leave only Japan and Germany of major territories to license after Cannes.
“Leviathan’s” sales count now stands at 30 territories, including, prior to Cannes, pre-sales on thebsasis of a promo and script to major markets such as the U.K. (Curzon/Artificial Eye), Australia/New Zealand (Palace Ent.), Spain (Golem), Brazil (Imovision), Benelux (Lumiere), former-Yugoslavia (MCF-Megacom Film), Greece (Seven Films), Poland (Against Gravity), Switzerland (Cineworx), and Turkey (Calinos Film).
Produced by Alexander Rodnyansky and written by Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin, “Leviathan” stars Alexey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova and Vladimir Vdovichenkov. It is set in a small town near the Barents Sea, in North Russia, where a man suffers the attempts of a corrupt local mayor to evict him from his house. He fights back.
“A unique film for Andrey, ‘Leviathan’ has his trademark visual style and narrative but it is also breathtakingly beautiful,” Rodnyansky said.
Pyramide Intl. has also rolled out sales on “Party Girl,” Cannes’ 2014 Un Certain Regard opener.
The feature debut of Claire Burger, Marie Amachoukel and Samuel Thesis, “Party Girl,” the Elzevir Films-produced “Party Girl” is inspired by the real-life situation of Thesis’ mother, Angelina Litzenburger, a nightclub hostess who plays herself in the film.
“Party Girl” has closed Italy (BIM), Benelux (A Film), Spain – Karma Films, Switzerland (First Hand Films), Greece (Rosebud 21), Israel (Orlando), Canada (Axia Films) and Taiwan (Swallow Wings).
Also a Camera d’Or competitor, “Party Girl” will bow in France on Sept. 3, Pyramide again distributing. Mexico and Denmark look set to close shortly.
“It’s unusual for a first feature to open Un Certain Regard, That created a large expectation among buyers and once they saw the film they really connected with a wonderful, string female character,” said Garzon.
Pyramide Intl. has also seen buoyant first sales on another Un Certain Regard player, Greek Panos H. Koutras’ “Xenia.” The story of two brothers, the son of an Albanian cabaret singer, who set off to Thessaloniki to look for their father who abandoned them and force him to recognize them as his sons, “Xenia” is a feel-good comedy/drama, Garzon said, with multiple songs from Italian ‘70s singer Patty Pravo.
“It’s very different to Greek films in recent years. It’s uplifting, warm, colorful, vibrant, and that enthused buyers,” said Garzon.
“Xenia’s” first sales demonstrate a clear market appetite for such movies, especially if benefitting from the seal of quality of Cannes Official Selection berth.
In early sales, “Xenia” has closed the U.K./Ireland (Peccadillo Pictures) and Italy (Officine Ubu), Germany (Pro-Fun Media), Taiwan (Pomi Intl.) and Hong Kong (Edko Films). Mexico, North America, Poland and ex-Yugoslavia will close in the coming days, Garzon said.
French release by Pyramide is on June 18.