Berlin: Drama ‘Mad’ Toplines Robust Slate From Paris-Based MK2 (EXCLUSIVE)

Paris-based banner’s wares to EFM bazaar include docu based on founder Marin Karmitz’s life

Still the Water Berlin

Having seen robust sales last year on Jia Zhangke’s “A Touch of Sin,” Xavier Dolan’s “Tom at the Farm” and Lisa Langseth’s “Hotell,” Paris-based MK2 is looking for further resilient arthouse business on “Don’t Tell Me the Boy Was Mad” the next film by Robert Guediguian.

The pick-up comes as MK2 preps a new program, MK Live, a movie-series aimed at cinema theaters of the best of recent Paris theaters, musicals and operas.

Produced by France’s Agat Films & Cie, “Mad” shoots July through October in France and Beirut.

Diaphana, MK2’s distribution partner in France, handles French release.

“In the vein of classic Guediguian movies,” said MK2 CEO Nathanael Karmitz, “Mad” has, like many of the director’s films, a social – here also political – subtext, but has a broader canvas and faster-moving plot.

Written with Gilles Taurand (“Farewell, My Queen”), “Fou” begins with a young Marseille-born Armenian blowing up the Turkish ambassador’s car in Paris, seriously injuring a passing cyclist. He flees to Beirut. Days later, the bomber’s mother bursts into the cyclist’s hospital room, begging forgiveness.

New on MK2’s Berlin slate, “Marin Karmitz – Bande a Part” delivers a portrait of MK2 founder Marin Karmitz, as the company celebrates its 40th anni in 2014 with events and retrospectives around the world, including at New York’s MoMa. Helmed by Felix Von Boehm, the docu-feature will be a “a journey through European and worldwide cinema over the last fifty years, and a very private and personal journey through Marin Karmitz’s life,” said Nathanael Karmitz, his son.

MK2 will also sell French director Frederic Martin’s “Charles Chaplin: The Legend of a Century,” as Chaplin’s tramp character turns 100.

First shows up for MK2 Live, to be introduced at Berlin, are all Theatre du Chatelet productions: Japanese opera “The End,” from Keiichiro Shibuya, and Benjamin Millepied’s ballet, “L.A. Dance Project.”

“From our experience as exhibitors, alternative programming is limited and usually live, which brings many constraints,” Karmitz said.

“We’d like to help theaters that want to find their won voice,” he added.

Also on MK2’s slate, Carlos Saura’s MK2-sold dance/music movie “Argentina” shoots next summer, Karmitz said.

MK2 will show first images at Berlin of Olivier Assayas’-language debut “Clouds of Sils Maria,” with Juliette Binoche, Chloe Grace Moretz and Kristen Stewart, and of Naomi Kawase’s coming of age tale “Still The Water.” Per Karmitz, both will be ready around Cannes.

“The slate has two types of films: Great directors with fresh news stories working gave them their success, and Olivier Assayas who makes a full English language movie with an international cast, a director at the top of his game searching for a wider audience,” Karmitz said.

“We’re doing what we know: “Great directors, universal subjects, movies for international audiences,” Karmitz said. That’s why we’ve allied with Robert Guediguian, Carlos Saura, Oliver Assayas and Naomi Kawase.”

Once also a producer and distributor in France, MK2 now focuses on domestic exhibition and international sales.

“From its origins, MK2 has turned to international, for independence and because its directors and projects are international. It was true and is even more now a key,” Karmitz concluded.