Gutek builds upscale arthouse slate

Polish distrib bets on event auteurs

In Venice for the first time in 12 years, and buoyant after releasing “The Intouchables,” Polish arthouse distributor Gutek Film is shaping an aggressive 2013 release slate based around stellar auteurs.

It’s one of many foreign distribs returning to the Lido for the five-day Venice Film Market, which kicked off Thursday.

“I admit that I betrayed Venice. From 2000, I’ve been going straight to Toronto,” confessed Jakub Duszynski, Gutek acquisitions head.

He’s still going to Toronto but is calling on Venice to check out the fest’s line up — he cites Paul Thomas Anderson’s competition contender “The Master,” “an obvious hot ticket” — and to scour for discoveries.

Susanne Bier’s TrustNordisk-sold “Love Is All You Need,” which bows out of competition Sunday in Venice, is one Gutek buy.

Its 2013 slate encompasses Pedro Almodovar’s plane-set “I’m So Excited,” “a laugh-out-loud” comedy, in the director’s words, which rolled early July, and Lars von Trier’s explicit sex drama “Nymphomaniac,” with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgard, now shooting.

Gutek will also release Jim Jarmusch’s vampire love story, “Only Lovers Left Alive,” with Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, and Nicolas Winding Refn’s revenge thriller, “Only God Forgives,” starring Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas. Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or winner “Amour” bows Nov. 1.

“Gutek has become braver, focusing on standout, event films by famous directors,” Duszynski said. “These can be expensive, so it’s risky, but there can be rich payoffs.”

Paying premium prices for premium helmers allows Gutek to focus on theatrical as its core business, he added.

Gutek is still pushing films by first-time directors, such as Benh Zeitlin’s Sundance sensation, “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” which it releases mid-October.

“Intouchables” was its best-ever earner in Poland, grossing $4 million from 733,000 tickets sold, besting 2000’s “Amelie.”

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