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Wellspring picks up pair out of Cannes

Guirgis, Menahem negotiated acquistions

Adding two prize-winning titles to the list of films acquired out of the Cannes Film Festival for the U.S., Wellspring has picked up Russian helmer Alexander Sokurov’s “Father and Son” and Iranian Jafar Panahi’s “Crimson Gold.”

Acquisitions rep an extension of Wellspring’s relationship with both directors. The distrib late last year released Sokurov’s Cannes honoree “Russian Ark,” which just crossed the $2 million mark at the U.S. box office in its 25th week; in 2001 it handled Panahi’s Venice fest Golden Lion winner “The Circle.”

“Father and Son” premiered in this year’s Cannes Competition, where it won the Fipresci international critics award. “Crimson Gold” bowed in Un Certain Regard, landing that sidebar’s jury prize. Latter title is expected to screen at the New York Film Festival in the fall.

Deal for both was closed by Wellspring head of acquisitions Marie Therese Guirgis and Pierre Menahem of Paris-based international sales agent Celluloid Dreams.

In a Family way

The second film in Sokurov’s planned Family Trilogy, “Father” follows 1997’s “Mother and Son.” It portrays the intimate bond and power struggle between a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war and his teenage son, a soldier and an exceptional athlete himself.

Panahi’s film is a humanistic character study that comments on the inequities and ironies of contemporary Iranian society via a chronicle of events leading to a jewelry store robbery and suicide.

Current and upcoming Wellspring releases include Claire Denis’ “Friday Night,” Karim Ainouz’s “Madame Sata,” Bahman Ghobadi’s “Marooned in Iraq,” Delphine Gleize’s “Carnage” and reissues of the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Other pics in the lean crop acquired for the U.S. out of this year’s official Cannes selection include Lars von Trier’s “Dogville” by Lions Gate, Denys Arcand’s “The Barbarian Invasions” (Miramax), Sue Brooks’ “Japanese Story” (Samuel Goldwyn), French animated pic “Belleville Rendezvous” (Sony Pictures Classics), Bent Hamer’s “Kitchen Stories” (IFC) and Siddiq Barmak’s “Osama” (United Artists).

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