You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Films Boutique Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ with ‘Monument to Michael Jackson’

Comedies popular with Karlovy Vary film fest's young audience

Berlin-based sales company Films Boutique has kick-started international sales on comedy “Monument to Michael Jackson,” which world premiered Tuesday at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Sale demonstrates the fest’s ability to be a launch-pad for auteur pics with a humorous edge.

Darko Lungulov’s film was picked up in Hungary by Cirko Film, which also released the helmer’s previous and first film, 2009’s “Here and There.” That pic, which was also handled in international markets by Films Boutique, was sold to 15 territories, including eOne in North America. It won 20 awards at more than 50 festivals following its Tribeca premiere, and played in Karlovy Vary in the Variety Critics’ Choice section.

“Monument to Michael Jackson,” which was picked up by Films Boutique at script stage, plays in Karlovy Vary’s East of the West competition sidebar.

The movie, which is set in 2009, centers on a barber who is a hopeless dreamer. Faced with the prospect of being abandoned by his disgruntled wife, he conjures up an absurd plan to bring fame to their dead-end town: they will replace the town’s communist-era monument with a statue of Michael Jackson.

Films Boutique also represents another film world premiering at Karlovy Vary, Pascal Rabate’s “Patchwork Family,” which played in the main competition section. Jean-Christophe Simon, Films Boutique’s CEO, describes the film as a “crowdpleaser.”

The pic, which was released this week in France by Ad Vitam Distribution, follows Christian, a divorced father who can only see his young daughter Vanessa every other weekend. When he meets the single mother Christine, and decides to participate in a summer TV show, his whole life is turned upside down.

Films Boutique also worked with the filmmaker on his previous film, “Holidays by the Sea,” which played in competition in Karlovy Vary three years ago, and won the directing prize. The film attracted 450,000 admissions in France.

Rabate is best known in France as the author of comic-books, and both films are adaptations of his comic-books.

“People see the film as being very original, with strong visual imagery, extremely colorful, and a hint of the absurd,” Simon said. “It is a crowd-pleaser for festival audiences, and just the kind of film distributors are looking for right now.”

He added that Karlovy Vary is an ideal launch-pad for auteur comedies like “Patchwork Family” and “Monument to Michael Jackson.” While Cannes and Berlin are less likely to accept such comedies, which are perceived as being more “commercial,” Karlovy Vary — with a younger audience than the other two — is more receptive to such fare.

“They are the type of films that the Karlovy Vary festival likes, but not films that could play at Cannes or Berlin as they are a bit too comedic,” Simon said. “Karlovy Vary is the perfect place for them because you have a good platform for the launch, and afterwards other festivals will pick up the film. For distributors, the films work as commercial auteur movies.”

It also helps that the festival has a Central and East European focus as both the previous pics from the filmmakers sold to a lot of territories in the region, Simon said.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • La vaca

    Alec Baldwin’s El Dorado Boards Debut by Chile’s Francisca Alegria (EXCLUSIVE)

    In what marks the company’s first Latin American project, Alec Baldwin’s El Dorado Pictures has boarded Chilean filmmaker Francisca Alegria’s debut feature, “The Cow Who Sang a Song About the Future.” The multi-Emmy-winning actor and his El Dorado partner Casey Bader will serve as executive producers of the film, slated to start principal photography in [...]

  • Hustlers Box Office

    Box Office: Why 'Hustlers' Soared While 'The Goldfinch' Flopped

    Though STX’s “Hustlers” and Warner Bros.’ “The Goldfinch” couldn’t be more different in terms of genre or style, the two new releases prove the divergent paths that mid-budget movies can take at the box office. Both films arrived last weekend in an environment that has been increasingly hostile to anything that’s not of the superhero [...]

  • The Irishman

    Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' Set for Centerpiece Screening at Rome Festival

    Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will be among highlights of the upcoming Rome Film Festival, following its European launch as the closing film at the BFI London Film Festival. As with the Oct. 13 London premiere, key cast members of the hotly anticipated Netflix film are expected to attend the screening in Rome, as is Scorsese. [...]

  • 'Cheer Up, Mr. Lee' to be

    Korean Comedy 'Cheer Up, Mr. Lee' to be Remade in French

    Currently on-release South Korean comedy drama, “Cheer Up, Mr. Lee” is to be remade in French. “Mr. Lee” is the story of a mentally-challenged man who learns that he has a sick daughter, and embarks on a voyage of discovery with his new family member. A remake deal was struck between Yong Film, part of [...]

  • The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos

    Korea: 'The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos’ Rules Chuseok Holiday Box Office

    Local films dominated cinemagoing in South Korea over the 4-day Chuseok holiday weekend, traditionally one of the year’s busiest periods. The winner was “The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos.” Opening on Wednesday, the CJ Entertainment release earned $20.2 million from 1.97 million admissions over five days. A film adaptation of CJ E&M’s 2014 hit TV [...]

  • Disco

    New Europe Sells Toronto and San Sebastian Film 'Disco' to Several Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jan Naszewski’s New Europe Film Sales has signed several distribution deals on “Disco,” which had its world premiere in Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery section and makes its European premiere in San Sebastian’s New Directors competition. The film has been picked up by Palace for Australia and New Zealand, Artcam for Czech Republic and Slovakia, Kino [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content