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CANNES: Mexico’s ND Mantarraya Acquires Seven Cannes Laureates (EXCLUSIVE)

Pick-ups include competition winners ‘Winter Sleep,’ ‘Mommy’ and ‘Leviathan’ plus a slew of critical hits at Cannes

MADRID –Mexico’s ND Mantarraya, a joint distribution venture of Carlos Reygadas’ Nodream Cinema and producer partner Jaime Romandia’s Mantarraya, has snagged Mexican rights to seven Cannes kudos winners among a large total 12-title acquisition trawl.

The acquisitions come just after Mantarraya’s launch of Habitant Productions, a Mexico-based production services company.

The acquisitions underscore the importance of the Cannes market for leading arthouse distributors around the world. ND Mantarraya releases 10-12 films in Mexico a year. Its big bag of Cannes buys will leave it with the possibility of picking up a couple of more titles in 2014, Romandia told From Cannes competition, ND Mantarraya has acquired Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Palme d’Or laureate “Winter Sleep,” sold by MFI, Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy,” which shared the Jury Prize, and the Pyramide Intl.-repped “Leviathan,” which snagged director Andrey Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negrin best screenplay.

A second Pyramide title, helmed by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis, “Party Girl,” another ND Mantarraya acquisition, took Cannes’ Camera d’Or for best first film, plus ensemble acting honors in Un Certain Regard. ND Mantarraya also acquired Greek Papas Koutras’ crowdpleaser “Xenas” from Pyramide.

Other ND Mantarraya pick-ups, both sourced from Le Pacte, were Un Certain Regard special jury prize winner “The Salt of the Earth,” from Wim Wenders and Juliano Robeiro, which also received an Ecumenical jury commendation; and Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbuktu,” which bagged Cannes’ Ecumenical Jury Prize.

An arthouse studio, Mantarraya also produces, most notably movies by Carlos Reygadas and Amat Escalante, such as 2012 and 2013 Cannes best director winners, “Post Tenebras Lux” and “Heli,” which they also released in Mexico.

Via NDM, a sales company set up in 2012, it can ring its options, producing, distributing and selling titles, as has been the case on Lisandro Alonso’s “Land of Plenty,” which scooped a Fipresci Un Certain Regard nod. It also sold it at Cannes and has taken Mexican distribution rights.

It will release in Mexico another NDM sales title, Bruno Dumont’s Directors’ Fortnight player “Li’l Quinquin,” a tragicomic four-episode TV series/single movie turning on a police investigation in a small village in northern France.

Other acquisitions for Mexico include Olivier Assayas’ Cannes competition entry, “Clouds of Sils Maria,” starring Juliette Binoche, sourced from MK2; Melanie Laurent’s Gaumont-sold “Breathe,” her sophomore outing as a director, and a hit in Critics’ Week; and a third Le Pacte title, Critics’ Week player “The Kindergaten Teacher,” from Israeli director-writer Nadav Lapid (“The Policeman”), which also an upbeat critical reactions.

On “Teacher,” ND Mantarraya took rights to all Latin America, on “Earth” right to the whole region outside Brazil.

“In some cases, it’s better to take pan-regional rights since the price difference isn’t very much and NDM can sell to the rest of Latin America,” Romandia said.

Habitant Productions will service features. Docus, TV series and commercials.

Mexico “has a a long history of American films being made here in the last 50 years. Recently,  more production companies from all over the world have come, attracted by the variety of locations and full services that we have to offer,” Romandia explained.

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