Buyers attracted to ‘Me’

'Siberia' opener cold, 'East,' 'Straight' already sold

CANNES — Though certainly not paved with gold, the Cannes acquisition trail has already offered up several items of interest to North American buyers.

The biggest stir thus far has been caused by Gaumont’s Australian comedy “Me, Myself, I,” starring Rachel Griffiths, Sandy Winton and David Roberts, and directed by Pip Karmel. A screening in Paris over the weekend elicited offers from Fine Line Features and Miramax Films, although Gaumont appeared to be holding off on a deal until later in the festival.

In contrast, Nikita Mikhalkov’s “The Barber of Siberia,” tonight’s opener, has generated little enthusiasm among those who have seen it, due largely to its slow pacing and three-hour duration.

Creative Artists Agency, which is repping domestic rights to the film, aims to close a deal in Cannes. Intermedia Films is handling international sales. The U.S. asking price has already fallen from $10 million to $5 million.

Most “hot” finished pics, of course, were sold in the immediate run-up to the festival. These included Damien O’Donnell’s “East Is East,” to be distribbed by Miramax; David Lynch’s “The Straight Story,” which flip-flopped from October to Disney; “Simpatico,” which was acquired by Fine Line Features; and Peter Greenaway’s “8-1/2 Women,” which Lions Gate Films took for the U.S.

One pic that may yet turn out to be available for the U.S. is Michael Winterbottom’s competition entry, “Wonderland,” which was fully financed by Polygram Filmed Entertainment. The film was not included in the sale of Gramercy Pictures, so Universal still has to decide whether to handle the U.S. release itself or offload the pic to a specialized distrib.