MONTREAL — Canuck producer Robert Lantos has been at the Cannes Film Festival every year since 1974, with the exception of one missed fest in the mid-’80s when he was shooting the made-for-TV pic “Sword of Gideon” in Israel. And Lantos’ pics have often been in the limelight on the Croisette, thanks to high-profile Competition entries like David Cronenberg’s “Crash” and Atom Egoyan’s “The Sweet Hereafter.”
This year, Lantos produced Egoyan’s Cannes entry “Ararat.”
Lantos is also the poster boy for the new, more commercial policy at film funder Telefilm Canada, which is determined to finance pics that reach a wider audience than most Canadian films.
Recently appointed Telefilm boss Richard Stursberg points to the Lantos-produced “Men With Brooms,” which will make it;s international luanch in the Cannes market, as a great example of the kind of accessible Canadian filmmaking that actually makes money.
Straddling the world of art adn commerce (and somethimes art does make commerce), Lantos says Cannes is the ideal launch pad for the kind of auteur pics he produces.
“Cannes has its detractors, but I’m not one of them,” Lantos says. “There are certainly dangers in Cannes. If a film gets poor reviews, it can go straight to oblivion. But the upside is so tremendous. If a film is embraced in Cannes by the press and by the audience, it acquires overnight a worldwide buzz.”
“Brooms,” starring and directed by Paul Gross, sold approximately C$4 million ($2.5 million) worth of tickets in Canada. That makes it the most successful English-language Canadian film domestically since “Porky’s.”