CANNES: France's Paname Distribution Acquires Shira

Paname Distribution, a new distributor in France, has acquired all rights to Shira Geffen’s “Self Made,” which premiered Friday in Critics’ Week. WestEnd Films is selling the pic worldwide.

Paname was set up by its CEO, Laurence Gachet, the former head of distribution at MK2, and its head of acquisitions, Jean Hernandez, who was formerly chief exec at Ocean Films, and a programmer for arthouse theaters in Paris.

The boutique distributor is focusing on up-and-coming auteur filmmakers, and plans to release up to six films a year. Its other acquisitions are Zhanna Issabayeva’s “Nagima,” and Kang Yi-kwan’s “Juvenile Offender.”

Paname is also releasing films on behalf of producers who have retained distribution rights, such as Claude Lelouch’s “Salaud on t’aime.”

“Self Made” was written and helmed by Geffen, whose first feature, “Jellyfish,” screened in Critics’ Week in 2007, and won the Camera d’Or. Pic stars Samira Saraya and Sarah Adler, and was produced by David Mandil of MoviePlus Prods., and Moshe Edery and Leon Edery of United King Films.

“Self Made” centers on two women — one Israeli, the other Palestinian — who are trapped within their respective worlds. After a mix-up at a checkpoint, they find themselves living the life of the other on the opposite side of the border.

“Extremely modern and offbeat, ‘Self Made’ offers a new vision, poetic and full of humor, on classical themes of Israeli cinema, such as identity or artistic and political engagement. Shira Geffen’s film fits perfectly within the brand and ethos that we want to build at Paname Distribution,” Gachet said.

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