×

Spain’s Golem Takes ‘Winter Sleep,’ ‘White God’ ‘Force Majeure’

Territory’s arthouse market still buys, but highly selectively

CANNES – Confirming for another year at Cannes that there is life left in Spain’s arthouse market, though for a highly select number of titles, Golem, Spain’s premier art pic distributor-exhibitor, has acquired a quintet of major prizewinners.

Three buys are unannounced: Cannes’ Memento Films Intl.-sold Palme d’Or winner “Winter Sleep,” “White God,” from The Match Factory, which topped Un Certain Regard, and the Co-Production Office-sold “Force Majeure,” which snagged Un Certain Regard’s Jury Prize.

As previously reported, Golem has also acquired two other Cannes competition entries, both lacerating social critiques: Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbuktu,” sold by Le Pacte, which won Cannes’ Ecumenical Jury Prize, and turns on the impact of jihadist rule in the city, and Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan,” sold by Pyramide Intl., a record of corruption and the lack of justice in contempo Russia.

Of pre-sales, Golem has also acquired from Elle Driver Benoit Jacquot’s love triangle drama “3 Hearts,” with a top-flight cast of Benoit Poelvoorde, Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve, as well as Films Distribution’s upcoming Francois Ozon title “The New Girlfriend,” starring Romain Duris and Raphael Personnaz.

In a year when both the Cannes competition and Un Certain Regard juries, headed by Jane Campion and Pablo Trapero respectively, chose films which had already sparked both critical buzz and early sales at Cannes, “Leviathan” was acquired at Berlin, but the other four titles at Cannes after screenings but before prizes, said Golem co-topper Josetxo Moreno.

That said, the top Cannes plaudits provide invaluable marketing hooks for the acquisitions. As arthouse audiences become ever more selective in the titles they catch at cinema theaters, a Cannes prize has become more, not less, important for distributors.

With TV buys, whether pay or free-to-air, few-and-far between on arthouse titles in Spain, and DVD/VOD decimated by piracy, Golem’s buys were predicated on the movies’ theatrical potential, Moreno said. Golem’s ownership of five Golem cinema theaters, spread between Madrid and the northern cities of Pamplona and Bilbao at least allows it to take a certain risk on titles such as ‘Winter Sleep,’ rationalizing releases and enjoying fixed release dates, he added.

Crucial too for acquisitions was sales agents’ controlling asking prices for Spain. Romantic comedy “Spanish Affair” has galvanized box office numbers for early 2014 in Spain, up 12% in total box office grosses through April 20. A rich line in local productions look set to hit local theaters this year: Scumbag cop saga “Torrente 5,” thriller “Marshland,” horror franchise finale [REC] 4,” action thriller “El Nino,” and 3D toon “Mortadelo & Filemon: Mission Implausible.”

But most titles, whether studios’ wannabe blockbusters or arthouse gems, still continue, however, to under-index in Spain, which faces a long-haul out of recession.

More Film

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Box Office: Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Takes on 'Lion King'

    Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” will have to take on much more than a changing showbiz landscape. This weekend, the washed-up actor and his majordomo are battling Disney’s juggernaut “The Lion King” at the domestic box office. Tarantino’s R-rated auteur [...]

  • Margot Robbie Once Upon a Time

    Margot Robbie Says 'Barbie' Movie Will Put 'Positivity' Into the World

    Over the last 10 years, Margot Robbie has stepped into the skates of Tonya Harding, taken up the mantle of Harley Quinn and, next up, she’s playing the world’s most famous doll, Barbie. The live-action film is due out in 2020 and set to be written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, while Robbie serves [...]

  • 2018 NALIP Gala

    National Association of Latino Independent Producers Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

    Ben Lopez has seen the future of the entertainment industry, and says it is the Latinx community. “In the next 20 years, we’re going to be prioritized — because not only will we have the numbers demographic-wise, we’ll have the spending power,” says Lopez, the executive director of the National Assn. of Latino Independent Producers, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content