×

Films Boutique Sells ‘Longwave’ at Locarno

Deals shape up at growing Swiss fest

LOCARNO — Among early sales at an applauded and impressively attended 4th edition of Locarno’s Industry Days, Films Boutique has sold Lionel Baier’s “Longwave,” which world premiered on Sunday at Locarno’s Piazza Grande, to much of South America.

In a deal signed at Locarno, Zeta Films has closed Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay, Films Boutique’s Jean-Christophe Simon announced at Locarno Tuesday.

Set during Portugal’s 1974 Carnation Revolution, which removed its neo-fascist dictatorship from power, “Longwave” will be released in France by Happiness Distribution and Pathe in Switzerland.

“Longwave’s” South American deal is one of the first to come out of Locarno. Many look set to follow. Some might be announced in the next 24 hours. Most will close, however, after early September’s Toronto Festival when most arthouse/crossover distributors worldwide have screened Locarno world premieres plus other summer art-house offerings playing at Venice and Canada’s mega-event.

“Locarno is an after-Cannes and before-Toronto event,” said Anais Clanet, head of highly-active Paris-based docu label Wide House.

“Buyers come here in part as preparation for Toronto, to meet the sales agents, find out what’s in Toronto, and ask for screeners and promotional material,” she added.

So, half-way through the Festival, many Locarno deals were shaping up, rather than in the shape of short-form contracts.

Wild Bunch’s Carole Baraton said Corneliu Porumboiu’s “When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism” is attracting interest from the U.S..

Wide House in negotiations with the U.S., Poland and

France on “The Special Need,” the Filmmakers of the Present closer, which she describes as a “lighthearted, emotional documentary” about Enea, a 29-year-old Italian autist who sets out across Europe with his two best friends to try to lose his virginity.

A deal launch-pad, Locarno is taken seriously by the industry.

“Locarno is relaxing, but it’s still a big festival and still definitely business: You can spend an hour with a distributor, talking about a strategy, not just telling him ‘buy it,’” said Clanet, who has also picked up world sales rights to “Watermarks,” the third part of Luc Schaedler’s Asian trilogy, a three-location portrait of the complexities of contemporary China, which plays Locarno’s Critics’ Week.

Anyone who hasn’t visited Locarno in a few years will be struck, near shocked, at just how vigorously it has ramped up its industry initiatives and attendance.

Its all-time record of 1,047 industry accreditations two days out from this year’s fest’s get-go was not only an all-time record but 15% up on 2012. It included 263 buyers, 217 from Europe, led from abroad by massive attendances from France (102 companies present), and Germany (77 shingles).

The caliber of attendees, often company toppers or top execs, is also impressive.

An enthusiastic reception from press and, above all, audiences, can do wonders for foreign sales as well. Four nights out from Locarno’s prize announcements on Saturday, it is difficult to second-guess this year’s Golden Leopard.

But distributors will take large note of the standing ovation at Locarno for the Memento-sold “Short Term 12,” and applause for potential German blockbuster “Wetlands,” repped by The Match Factory, and Mexico’s “The Amazing Cat-Fish,” sold by Pyramide Intl., which plays Filmmakers of the Present.

Locarno also has the full backing of its native country. Adding to the fest’s critical mass of industry figures, Swiss exhibitors hold a congress Aug. 7-10 at Locarno running parallel to the first days of the fest, in order to preview upcoming releases.

Three films from Paris-based sales agent Elle Driver alone were showcased by Swiss distributors to exhibitors this year, said Elle Driver’s Eva Diederix: Cannes Un Certain Regard player “Grand Central,” with Tahar Rahim and Lea Seydoux, which Frenetic opens end of August in Switzerland; Berlin competition contender “On My Way,” a Xenix Sept. 18 release; and the new Albert Dupontel movie, with Sandrine Kiberlain, “9 Months Stretch,” a JMH Oct. 16 bow.

Proudly supported by Swiss authorities and key film orgs, such as pubcaster SRG SSR and promotion org Swiss Films, which jointly presented a DVD collection of 20 docu-portraits of Swiss directors from Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Tanner to Baier, Andrea Staka and Ursula Meier, Locarno is unspooling is a country which has missed the full brunt of Europe’s crisis. It has the resources, and seeming will, to expand.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • HTC Headset

    Taiwan Launches Int'l Grant Scheme to Boost VR Content Production

    Taiwan has launched a grant scheme to boost the island’s status as a global hub for virtual reality production. It is offering finance to projects co-produced by companies established in Taiwan and internationally, but excluding those from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. The three-year Immersive Content Grant for International Joint Ventures or Co-Productions under [...]

  • Extinction

    Coronavirus Causes 85% Crash in Asia Box Office

    Theatrical box office in the Asia-Pacific region tumbled a massive 85% in the first two months of the year. The coronavirus caused cinema closures, audience hesitation, and a halving of the number of film releases. Asia is home to the five of the top ten cinema markets outside North America. According to data from the [...]

  • Lindsay Lindenbaum on 'Tomboy,' Female Drummers,

    How 'Tomboy' Filmmaker Used SXSW Cancellation to Fine-Tune Her Film

    “Tomboy” filmmaker Lindsay Lindenbaum spent five years following four female drummers trying to make it in a male-dominated world. Lindenbaum profiles Bobbye Hall, a drummer who started at Motown Records in the late ’60s and later toured with Bob Dylan. Samantha Maloney, whose obsession with MTV’s “Headbangers Ball” as a teenager led her to fall [...]

  • Wonder Woman 1984

    Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Wipe Out All of Summer Blockbuster Season?

    Say goodbye to blockbuster season — at least for this year. After would-be summer hits from Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal already vacated their release dates, Sony Pictures announced Monday that its comic book adventure “Morbius,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and virtually all of its upcoming tentpoles were being moved into the fall or beyond. It was [...]

  • Dodgers Stadium Empty

    Movie Theaters and Concerts Could See Major Attendance Drop Post-Pandemic (Study)

    After a month of increasing anxiety and self-isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic, audiences in the U.S. are largely not eager to return to public events once the crisis subsides, according to a new study. In a survey of 1,000 consumers in the U.S., 44% of respondents said they would attend fewer large public events, [...]

  • 'Dolphin Reef' Review: A Dazzling Look

    'Dolphin Reef' on Disney Plus: Film Review

    Out of the vast universe of nature documentaries, I don’t think I’m alone in finding films about life under the sea to occupy a special place. The very fact that they exist, of course, is amazing — though when you watch one, part of the wonder is that you’re not thinking about how aquamarine filmmakers [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content