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Cannes focus on Wild Bunch

Company has 'Che,' 'Christmas Tale,' 'Lovers'

As Cannes winds down, all eyes are on Wild Bunch, the freewheeling French sales company that has expanded into film financing of global productions in many languages around the world.

Wild Bunch’s hottest draw — possibly the most talked-about film at this year’s Cannes — is Steven Soderbergh’s two-part Spanish-language biopic “Che,” starring Benecio del Toro. The four-hour opus unspools tonight but it remains to be seen who will step up to the plate and acquire North American rights.

Wild Bunch had four titles in competition this year. Along with “Che,” it sold its third film with Desplechin, “A Christmas Tale,” early in the fest to IFC Films. James Gray’s “Two Lovers,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Gwenyth Paltrow, is also yielding North American offers, though no one has yet clinched a sale.

After logging some 160 worldwide sales at or in the run-up to Berlin on “Largo Winch,” “The Wrestler,” “Afterwards” and “Sangre Pazzo,” Wild Bunch brought to Cannes several films of interest to North American buyers, who filed in and out of their Croisette offices to sample their promo reels.

Wild Bunch were several pre-buy possibilities for North America. Budgeted at $8 million and toplining Mickey Rourke, Darren Aronofsky’s “Wrestler” generated the most buzz, along with Jaco van Dormael’s $50 million “Mr. Nobody,” starring Rhys Isfans and Jared Leto.

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