Cannes: Cite Films Launches Sales on ‘The Desert Bride’

Driven by the lead performance of Paulina Garcia (‘Gloria’) as a 56-year-old woman who opens up to life, the Argentine-Chilean Un Certain Regard entry closes key territories

Fulfilling expectations, Paris-based Cite Films has closed key early major territories at this year’s Cannes Film Market on Un Certain Regard player “The Desert Bride,” one of the highest-profile Latin American movies on the Riviera.

Buying distributors include some of the strongest arthouse players in their territories, such as Spain’s Golem, Brazil’s Imovision and Cineart for Benelux.

Switzerland’s Filmcoopi, Greece’s Strada, and China’s Time In Portrait Ent. have also stepped up to the plate for the feature debut of Argentine directorial duo Cecilia Atán and Valeria Pivato, a romantic road movie which is “the feel-good story of a woman’s metamorphosis, the transformation of her life and vision of herself, made delicately step-by-step, about someone who was a bird in a cage and finds her freedom and rediscovers life,” Cité Films founder Raphael Berdugo said at Cannes.

“The Desert Bride” has received “serious interest” from the U.S. and Turkey , Scandinavia, the U.K. and Italy, he added.

“What impressed me was that we got always several offers from most of the territories that we sold such as France , Spain , Greece or Switzerland,” said Berdugo.

Several distributors will see it on May 25 at its official Un Certain Regard screening to sample the reaction of the public and the Debussy Theatre large theater format of the image, shot by ace Chilean cinematographer Sergio Armstrong (“Neruda””) in Cinemascope 2.40, he added.

Deals roll off near-full markets screenings on Saturday and Monday, a distribution deal for France with Memento Films, one of France’s most prestigious upscale distributors, announced in the week before Cannes, plus the triumph of “The Desert Bride” at France’s Toulouse Cinelatino Fest in March, where the film walked off with the two big prizes at its 31st Films in Progress.

The film suggests it’s never too late to discover a true identity. That may certainly appeal to the ever maturer theatrical audiences for movies in some countries. In France, maturer 50+ spectators generated 37.9% of the total box office in 2015, vs. 30.4% for under-25s, according to a CNC study. The gap has risen every year since 2012.

Atán and Valeria Pivato’s first feature is produced from Argentina by Atán, Pivato, Eva Lauria, Raul Aragon and El Perro en La Luna. Oscar-winning Haddock Films (“The Secret in Their Eyes”) co-produces. Ceibita Films co-produces from Chile as Argentina-Chile co-productions, once a rarity, lift off thanks to new bilateral state funding. Paris-based Lucero Garzon serves as an associate producer.

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