One-year-old Versatile, the Paris-based sales company headed by Pape Boye and Violaine Pichon, has closed a slew of sales on two flagship titles on its first-year slate: Supernatural thriller “Abattoir,” helmed by Darren Lynn Bousman, director of “Saw II,” “Saw III” and “Saw IV,” and Sundance winner “Blind,” from first-time Norwegian helmer Eskil Vogt.
Underscoring the robust eclecticism of its slate, Versatile is also introducing at Cannes “Gente de bien,” Colombian Franco Lolli’s Critics’ Week entry.
Produced by Jesse Berger via Radical Studios’ genre banner Dark Web, and co-produced by France’s Les Enfants Terribles, run by Yoel Dahan and Yohan Baiada, “Abattoir” will topline on-the-rise Chad Michael Murray, who stars opposite Nicolas Cage in “Left Behind,” and Alexandra Breckenridge (“Other People’s Children”).
Currently, a multi-territory deal for the U.K., Eastern Europe, Brazil, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Portugal is pending announcement. A separate deal for German-speaking rights will also be announced.
Other often-significant buyers include Comstock (Japan), Shooting Stars (Middle East), Rainfilm (Malaysia, Vietnam), Big Movie (CIS, Baltics), Codex (Turkey), Showtime (South Korea) and Pioneer (Philippines) and Tanweer for Greece.
“Abattoir” centers on a Boston real-estate reporter who unearths an urban legend about someone who has spent decades buying homes where horrific tragedies have occurred and then pieces them together.
Said Boye: “This is not a slasher but elevated genre, an elegant, sophisticated but scary movie. Buyers who pre-bought the film are going to get a much more commercial film than they thought. Base FX and ILM are performing “Abattoir’s” SFX.
“Abattoir” delivery is scheduled for Spring 2015.
Winner of the Screenwriting Award at 2014’s Sundance and the Europa Label prize at Berlin, “Blind” has won prizes at all five festivals where it has competed, though it’s not really a festival film, Boye said.
Headline deals on “Blind,” which is produced by Norway’s Motlys, include Kmbo for France, Spain, with top arthouse distributor Golem, Denmark’s Camera, U.K.’s Axiom, Sweden’s TriArt, Turkey’s Kurmaca, Imovision in Brazil, Provzglyad for CIS and Baltics, Meison Motion for Taiwan. Deals pending take in the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand, which should close this Cannes, Boye said.
“Blind” turns on a woman who, suddenly blind, withdraws to her apartment, where her fears and fantasies begin to take over her imagination.
“On ‘Blind,’ we feel we’re at the beginning of something. This is a first-time director, who co-wrote ‘Oslo, 31 August,’ but the film is very intelligent, subtle, and very well-directed,” Boye said.
Lolli’s “Gente de bien,” a drama plumbing class differences in Colombia, and how they affect a 10-year-old-boy, was acquired by Versatile at screenplay stage.
“We love doing first timers and arthouse films, crossover titles such as Sebastian Silva’s ‘Nasty Baby,’ but also films which are more commercial and accessible with audiences, and we have the experience of marketing these films. That’s why we’re called Versatile,” Boye said.
Versatile’s slate also includes first-time director Helene Zimmer’s “Being 14,” a portrait of three 14-year-old teens turbulent lives. Ad Vitam will distribute in France.