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CANNES: Kawase’s ‘Still The Water’ set to Flow Offshore (EXCLUSIVE)

PARIS– Japanese auteur Naomi Kawase’s “Still The Water” has attracted more buyers following its world-premiere in competition at the festival.

Sold by Nathanael Karmitz’ outfit MK2, the French-Japanese-Spanish co-production was acquired by Soda (U.K.), T-cast (South Korea), Seven (Greece), Edko Films (Hong Kong), Joint Entertainment (Taiwan), MCF Megacom (former Yugoslavia). Benelux distributor Cineart also picked up “Still The Water,” as well as Kawase’s next film, the friendship tale “An.”

MK2’s international sales head Juliette Schrameck said she was finalizing deals for Latin America (inflight), remaining Asian territories, Scandinavia and Spain.  

Set on a Japanese Island, “Still The Water” is a coming-of-age romance. 

Kawase ranks as one of Japan’s best-known helmers. She won the Camera d’Or in 1997 with “Suzaku,” the Grand Prix with “The Mourning Forest” in 2007, and she competed at Cannes with “Hanezu” in 2011.

Meanwhile, MK2 also did boffo sales business with Olivier Assayas’ English-language debut, “Clouds of Sils Maria.”  The multi-layered drama, starring Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz, world-premiered in competition at Cannes and earned warm reviews.

Lead-produced by Charles Gillibert’s CG Cinema, “Sils Maria” was  picked up by Artificial Eye (U.K.). Schrameck’s team is closing deals for Russia, Spain, Scandinavia and Asia. 

IFC Films, which pre-bought the film early on, will release the movie in the U.S..

Assayas’s biggest international sales success, per Schrameck, “Sils Maria” has already been acquired by Pinnacle (Australia), California Filmes (Latin America), Remain in Light (Benelux) and Greece (Weird Wave), Good Films (Italy), Filmcoopi (Switzerland), NFP (Germany), Golden Scene (Hong Kong), T Cast (Korea), Leopardo (Portugal), Falcon (Middle East), Bir Film (Turkey), Continental (ex Yugoslavia) and Encore Inflight.

Binoche stars as Maria Enders, a famous actress who is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years ago. But while back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young girl who drives the older Helena to suicide, she’s now being asked to step into the role of Helena.

Variety’s Peter Debruge described the film as a “daring rejoinder, a multi-layered, femme-driven meta-fiction that pushes all involved — including next-gen starlets Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz — to new heights.”

Assayas previously had three films competing at Cannes: “Les destinees” in 2000, “Demonlover” in 2002 and “Clean” in 2004.  He also presented “Carlos” out of competition in 2010.

MK2 pulled out of distribution and co-production last year to focus on exhibition (which remains France’s biggest arthouse circuit) and the exploitation of its library. The French company has nevertheless maintained an international sales division which, according to Schrameck, sees “positive results by being highly selective, handling a handful of titles from renowned international auteurs, and a few newcomers.”

The company’s current slate includes Masa Sawada’s documentary “I, Kamikaze” centering around the testimony of WWII survivor Fujio Hayashi, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s supernatural romance “Journey To The Shore” and Christophe Honore’s “Metamorphoses,” a modern bigscreen adaptation of Ovid’s classic poem. 

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