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Cannes: Puenzo’s ‘Wakolda’ Clicks With Buyers (EXCLUSIVE)

‘Cat Fish,’ ‘Apaches’ also sell for Pyramide Intl.

CANNES — Lucia Puenzo’s psychological drama “Wakolda,” which world premiered this week in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, is rolling out upbeat international sales, in another sign of an upturn in the arthouse market, at least for select titles.

A U.S. deal is in the offing, with sales company Pyramide Intl., one of the leading lights of France’s arthouse scene, receiving offers from a clutch of U.S. distributors.

Meanwhile, Artsploitation Films has acquired U..S. distribution rights to Thierry de Peretti’s Directors’ Fortnight player “Les Apaches.”

The 1960-set story of Auschwitz’s Angel of Death Josef Mengele endearing himself to a family in Patagonia in order to continue his human experiments, “Wakolda,” which Puenzo adapted from her own novel, closed at Cannes Australia/New Zealand with Madman Ent., the U.K. and Ireland with Peccadillo Pictures, and Italy with Academy Two.

U.S. and Japan should close in the next few days, Pyramide Intl. head of sales Lucero Garzon said at Cannes.

Greece (Videorama), Switzerland (Xenix Film Distribution), Israel (Nachshon Films), Taiwan (Swallow Wings Films) and Turkey (Medyavizyon) have also sold. Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Central America and Eastern Europe will close shortly, Garzon said.

Puenzo broke through winning Critics’ Week 2007 Grand Prix with “XXY.”

“Wakolda,” the helmer’s third film “shows Lucia Puenzo’s evolution as a director. A much more accomplished film, some of its buyers have bought all of Puenzo’s films,” Garzon said.

In an unusual case of pre-sales on a foreign-language feature film debut from a little-known director, Claudia Saint Luce’s Ventana Sur Primer Corte winner “The Amazing Cat Fish” has pre-sold to Japan (Bitters End), Taiwan (Swallow Wings), Switzerland (Cineworx), and Belgium and the Netherlands (Imagine).
Some buyers had caught “Cat Fish” at Ventana Sur.

“Europe has traditionally been the strongest market for Latin American films but they are now receiving enthusiastic responses from Asian territories such as Japan and Taiwan. That opens doors in markets where Latin American cinema previously sold only with difficulty,” Garzon said.

Italy’s KitchenFilm has also acquired “Les Apaches.”

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