MK2 revives int’l film interests

Co. plans 12 pic releases a year

After plowing its own furrow in recent years, Gallic mini-major MK2 is taking a renewed interest in the international film market, as signaled by its recent pickup of Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant.”

The company will co-produce and distribute internationally “Opopomoz,” the next film from Italian toon director Enzo d’Alo.

MK2 has acquired Korean director Hong Sang Soo’s “Turning Gate” and will co-produce and distribute internationally his next, “Woman Is Man’s Future.”

The change has been triggered by the reduction in troubled pay-box Canal Plus’ production and distribution activities, says prexy Marin Karmitz.

“We haven’t been active in the marketplace for about seven years,” Karmitz states.

“I didn’t want anything to do with the bidding wars that saw Canal Plus and StudioCanal pay ridiculously high prices, but things are getting back to normal now. We know how much a film is worth without taking incredible risks.”

Karmitz says he is aiming to release 12 films a year theatrically in France — “any more than one a month and we wouldn’t be doing justice to the films” — and produce or co-produce six films.

“We were under-producing and under-distributing,” Karmitz says. “MK2 is doing very well so there is no reason not to step our activities now that the market has stabilized.”

Over the past couple of years the company has been heavily focused on its chain of arthouse theaters, the newest of which, MK2 Bibliotheque, opened recently.

It also scored a success with Claude Chabrol’s “The Flower of Evil.”

Karmitz has also been busy with the Charlie Chaplin catalog MK2 acquired in 2001.

A digitally remastered version of “Modern Times” will close the festival while Richard Schickel’s documentary “The Life and Art of Charlie Chaplin” will receive a special screening here.

Aside from the Van Sant film, MK2 has the Un Certain Regard selected “Mille mois” by Faouzi Ben Saidi, the Russo-Cuban docu “Soy Cuba,” and Karmitz’s own “Camarades,” which will be screened in conjunction with his role this year as patron of Critics’ Week.

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