CANNES– Paris-based SND-M6 Group, one of France’s major film production-distribution-sales companies, has initiated pre-sales on comedy “La Famille Belier,” the latest film from Eric Lartigau (“The Big Picture”).
Tele Munchen Group has bought rights to Germany, Klockworx/New Select those to Japan. SND has also closed Benelux (Belga) and Switzerland.
Deals were closed on the basis of the screenplay. SND will screen an extended promo reel at Cannes.
“It’s not very usual to pre-sell French-speaking films and ‘La Famille Belier’ has pre-sold to two major territories,” said SND’s Lionel Uzan.
Produced by Jerico and Mars Films, “La Famille Belier” will be released in France by Mars Distribution on December 17.
“Given the reactions, we feel very confident about the film. There is a very strong interest everywhere. We know lots of people will want to screen the promo because the screenplay was very strong,” Uzan added.
Toplining a top-notch French-speaking cast, led by two admired character actors – Belgian Francois Damiens (“Nothing To Declare”) and Karin Viard (“On Air”) – “La Famille Belier” turns on a family whose members are all deaf, except for the daughter, Paula.
The family is otherwise completely normal. The father is running for mayor, and very busy, her 14-year-old brother is obsessed with her best friend. When Paula falls for a boy who joins the choir, she joins too and when she starts to sing, everyone is left speechless by her amazing voice. Her music teacher (Eric Elmosino, “Gainsbourg”) coaches her to participate – and win – the most prestigious vocal contest in Paris. But her dream, of having a career signing, which would mean leaving her family and moving to Paris, is something her family can’t understand.
Paula is played by 16-year-old Louane Emera, who reached the semi-finals of France’s “The Voice,” broadcast by TF1.
“This isn’t about a family with a handicap. It’s about everybody getting to accept everybody’s else’s dream. We pitch it as a kind of ‘Billy Elliot,” said Charlotte Boucon.
“You laugh during the first half of the film, and during the second half you cry,” Uzan added.
At this year’s Cannes, SND will bring three new projects onto the market. One is “A Perfect Man,” which reteams “Yves Saint Laurent’s” producer, WY Productions, with its star, Pierre Niney.
Directed by Yann Gozlan (“Caged”), “A Perfect Man” turns on an aspiring writer who passes off a dead soldier’s diary as his own work. It’s a publishing phenomenon, but he soon comes to realize that his lie has a price.
Mars Distribution once more will distribute in France.
“It’s a very different movie for Niney, but it’s still a performance-driven movie, because he plays an ambiguous complex character,” Uzan said.
Also new on SND’s slate: Tonie Marshall’s sex-addition-themed “Sex, Love & Therapy,” starring Sophie Marceau, and Frederic Tellier’s serial killer thriller “SK1,” with Nathalie Baye.