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35 French distribs set for Rendez-vous

Bruno Deloye hosts Different! sales meet

MADRID — At least 35 indie French distributors will huddle with Spanish film sales agents at Friday’s Rendez-vous a l’Opera!, a highly-effective export platform for Spanish movies targeting their numero uno international market: France.

Bruno Deloye, director of the Classic, Club, Star and Famiz Cine Plus movie channels, part of Gallic pay TV giant Canal Plus, hosts the event.

The Rendez-vous kicks off Different! 5, the fifth edition of an alternative Spanish film festival organized by Spanish film promotion org Espagnolas en Paris.

Few alternative film festivals sport such a pragmatic industry sensibility. Financed by the Spanish Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX) and run by Espagnolas with the support of the Cervantes Institute, the Rendez-vous offers sales agents the chance to pitch their films in Different! 5 to the creme of French art-crossover buyers.

Gallic distribs attending range from bigger indie ops — Ad vitam, Bac, Diaphana, Haut et Court, Le Pacte, Pyramide, Rezo — to more modest foreign-language auteur enthusiasts: Bodega/Carlotta Films, Epicentre and Jour2Fete.

Sales agents expected include 6 Sales, with sales-festival hit “Wrinkles,” Match Factory, with “The Sleeping Voice,” Imagina, tub-thumping “Elisa K,” and Film Factory, which has “Cousins” at the Rendez-Vous.

Deloye’s Rendez-vous support is a coup. Canal Plus is obliged to invest 12% of its annual French pay TV revenues in French or other-European films, three-quarters of that on Gallic films shot in French.

That 12% equals around €200 million ($250 million) a year. The mainstay of the French film industry, Canal Plus’ pre-buys on foreign-European films also rep huge sweeteners for smaller distributors working on tight margins.

“The cushion of a Canal Plus pre-buy is highly important for small indie distributors with relatively high operating costs,” said Espagnolas’ driving-force Jose Maria Riba.

Opening Different! 5 on June 1, Isabel Coixet presents “Listening to Judge Garzon,” a docu-feature on the Spanish judge now barred from office for investigating Civil War murders, while Benito Zambrano will explain his emotional Spanish Civil War drama “Voice.”

Fest closes June 7 with Max Lemcke’s Malaga-winner “Five Square Meters” and a docu-portrait of Bunuel co-scribe Jean-Claude Carriere, “Carriere, 250 Meters,” by Mexico’s Juan Carlos Rulfo.

Left-of-field filmmaker Fernando Merinero, director of Cannes’ Critics’ Week player “Children of the Wind,” receives a tribute.

Films were chosen according to their distribution possibilities with smaller indies in France, Riba said.

They also underscore the vibrant geographic spread of Spanish production, he added, taking in Galician toon pic “Wrinkles,” a recent GKids U.S. pick-up, Catalan pics “Elisa K” and “Garzon,” and Basque movies “80 Days” and “Happy New Year, Grandma!”

Building on success, fest travels for the first time to Bordeaux for a four-pic spread, June 3-4.

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