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Wild Bunch, Sophisticated Bring Malick’s ‘Voyage of Time’ to Cannes (EXCLUSIVE)

First images to be shown to selected buyers at the market

Hosted by Wild Bunch, Friday’s Cannes market screening of a teaser promo for Terrence Malick’s “Voyage of Time” looks set to become one of the most talked-about at this year’s market.

Wild Bunch holds international rights to the film.

That’s partly because of the film’s ambition: “A celebration of the earth, displaying the whole of time, from the birth of the universe to its final collapse,” according to press materials.

The involvement of Brad Pitt’s Plan B, with both Pitt and Plan B prexy Dede Gardner figuring among producers, makes it likely that Pitt will voice the final version of “Voyage of Time.” A-list talent voiceover or voiceovers seems guaranteed.

“Voyage of Time” is skedded for delivery in 2016. Malick has now “thousands of hours of footage. There is a vision of what Terrence Malick wants with this film. He has in a way collected colors and has an idea of what he wants to paint,” said producer Sophokles Tasioulis at Berlin-based Sophisticated Films.

The film has drawn on scientific advisers from MIT, Cambridge and Harvard.

“On the scientific side, everything the film may contain will be very well researched and will be at the top end of what we know,” Tasioulis added.

“Voyage of Time” will draw on multiple filmic resources: One is footage Malick has directed himself, shooting with 65mm film negative.

“It doesn’t get any better in terms of resolution, colors, in terms of capturing the beauty of what Terrence Malick calls the miracle of the world, Tasioulis said.

Other scenes have been created working with leading vfx artists such as Dan Glass (“Matrix Trilogy,” “Batman Begins”), and with the help of natural history cameramen, shooting with Imax cameras.

“Voyage of Time” will draw on select material created but never used for “Tree of Life,” and ceded to the film by River Road’s Bill Pohlad, a “Tree” producer.

Also arresting is the scale of distribution ambition. “Because of the size of the story, there’s an opportunity to take a more poetic approach in a 90-minute feature film which is an emotional journey,” said Tasioulis, who has been brought on board because of his expertise in making big theatrical events out of natural history movies: “Earth,” which he produced, grossed $109 million worldwide.

“The 40-minute large-screen format would be more educational, with more facts, the science, in a more overt way, he added.

The producers are in discussions with Imax to release the giant screen version, which has huge B.O. potential. “In China there are no quotas for Imax documentaries. It’s mandatory in the curriculum of the Chinese educational system to go see documentaries,” said Tasioulis. There are now 150 Imax screens in China. There’ll be like 400 by the time “Voyage of Time” is released, he added.

Delivery date is set for 2016.

“Voyage of Time” was the subject of litigation and counter-litigation between London-based financing company Seven Seas and Malick’s Sycamore Pictures, with Seven Seas claiming they had invested in “Voyage” and had “nothing to show for it.”

“I wasn’t part of this so I cannot comment on it, except to say that I know Sycamore and Seven Seas have come to an amicable agreement,” Tasioulis said.

“Voyage’s” producing team includes Gardner, Nicolas Gonda, Sarah Green, Pitt, Grant Hill and Pohlad.

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