Ventana Sur: Wide Takes ‘Pseudonym’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Tournage Pseudonym
Courtesy of Wide Management

Thriller backed by Diabolo Films (‘Suicide Shop’) and ‘The Artist’ producer La Petite Reine

MONTEVIDEO – Driving into debuts from Gallic directors, and also acquiring with an eye on future VOD markets, Wide Management, the Paris-based sales-production-distribution house, has acquired world sales rights to “Pseudonym,” produced by France’s Diabolo Films and La Petite Reine, the Academy Award-winning producer of “The Artist.”

Paris-based Diabolo, run by Gilles Podesta, teamed with Thomas Langmann’s La Petite Reine, which won fice Oscars for “The Artist,” including best picture, on toon musical “The Suicide Shop,” from Patrice Leconte (“Ridicule,” “The Hairdresser’s Husband”) that opened France’s Annecy Animation Festival in 2011. Destiny Distribution releases “Pseudonym” in France on March 9.

Also produced by Paris’ Lorette Productions, “Pseudonym” will be talked up to buyers by Wide’s Frederic Gentet at next week’s Ventana Sur where Wide will also screen one of its highest-profile titles, “2 Nights Till Morning,” which plays in Ventana Sur’s European Screenings.

A cautionary thriller for the Internet age, “Pseudonym” marks the first feature from French actor-turned-director Thierry Sebban.

Also written by Sebban, it turns on Alex, a divorced father and stressed executive whose blind date with a beautiful young stranger, who contacted him by Internet, soon spirals out of control. He suddenly becomes the victim of a manhunt. then abduction by a Internet predator whose violence, per Sebban, “is linked to extreme perversion and overwhelming power.”

Key cast introduces French theater actress Perrine Tourneux and stars Sebban, Simon Abkarian (“Casino Royale”) and Igor Skreblin, the last three seen together in long-running Canal Plus Original Series “Pigalle, La Nuit.”

“Pseudonym” won a Worldfest Huston 2015 Special Jury Award, an honorable mention, first feature film, at the 2015 European Independent Film Festival, and the Critics’ Award at the 2015 Fantasporto Oporto Festival.

According to Wide founder-president Loic Magneron, acquiring “Pseudonym” is “in line with our creating themed collections. This film falls perfectly into the European thriller genre. We can then later sell these themed collections to TV and VOD platforms around the world.”

“’Pseudonym’ is very suspenseful, sexy, original and modern, dealing with online dating. Wide aims to promote new French auteurs whose films have unique, interesting concepts,” added Wide’s Georgia Poivre.

Wide is now shopping a new director’s cut – shorter, better structured – of “North Angel,” Sophie Blondy’s second feature. It stars Denis Lavant (“Holy Motors”) and Iggy Pop in a tale of sexual jealousy and intrigue tensing a circus troupe attempting to turn a buck at a brooding location by the North Sea.

Wide’s slate also features the slightly absurdist, low-fi sci-fi “Cosmodrama” the second feature from France’s Philippe Fernandez (“A Faint Trembling of the Landscape”), which has seven French astronauts wake up on a spaceship and muse on the meaning of life, and  “Cruel,” the feature debut of crime novelist and short-filmmaker Eric Cherriere. A film noir, according to Cherriere, “Cruel” plumbs the dark crevasses of the mind of a serial killer (and loving son).

Starring Canada’s Marie-Josee Croze, a Cannes 2003 best actress winner for Denys Arcand’s “Barbarian Invasions,” and a highlight in Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” “2 Nights Till Morning” is the English-language debut of Helsinki-based Mikko Kuparinen. Finland’s Mikko Nousiainen, seen in Renny Harlin’s “5 Days of War,” co-stars.

Winning best director at Montreal and receiving its market premiere at Toronto, it has Croze as a French architect on a business trip who meets Nousiainen’s D.J. in Vilnius, Lithuania. They end up spending the night together. But what they expected to be a casual encounter takes an unexpected turn when volcanic ash cloud grounds all flights out of Vilnius.

On “2 Nights,” Bluebrick has acquired South Korea; Wide is now in talks with France, and is fielding interest from Japan and the U.K., said Poivre.

“’2 Nights Till Morning’ is a romantic drama that is very elegant and touching and which is addressed to a more mature and feminine audience,” said Magneron.

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