‘The Artist’ plays for Alta

Top Spanish arthouse distrib buys pic from Wild Bunch

MADRID — Alta Films, Spain’s top arthouse distributor-exhibitor, has inked with Wild Bunch on Spanish rights to Michel Hazanavicius’ 1927 Hollywood-set silent romance “The Artist.”

The black-and-white pic toplines French thesp Jean Dujardin as a movie star whose career is derailed by the rise of the talkies. Dujardin won the Cannes Festival’s best actor nod on Sunday.

Produced by Thomas Langmann at Paris-based shingle La Petite Reine, “The Artist” fits into Alta’s policy of buying strong upscale European pics with crossover potential that can play not only in arthouses but also upscale multiplexes.

Alta has also taken from Pathe two other Cannes players: Paolo Sorrentino’s Sean Penn starrer, the rock star drama “This Must Be the Place,” and Lebanon-set comedy “Where Do We Go Now,” Nadine Labaki’s follow-up to her 2007 helming debut “Caramel,” which was a solid grosser on the Spanish cinema theater loop run by Alta.

Further Cannes deals for Alta includes Morten Tyldum’s thriller “Headhunters,” closed with sales agent TrustNordisk.