Cannes: ND Mantarraya Sources Wild Bunch, Films Distribution, Le Pacte (EXCLUSIVE)

Mexican distributor makes big trawl at Cannes

My Golden Years Cannes Film Festival
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

CANNES – Mexico’s ND Mantarraya has snagged Wild Bunch’s “Our Little Sister“ and “My Golden Years” and Films Distribution’s “My Mother” and “Lamb,” as well as Le Pacte’s “Valley of Love” and “Brand New Testament.”

In a total nine-title raid, ND Mantarraya, Mexico’s biggest arthouse distributor, also closed with The Match Factory on “Cemetery of Splendor,” directed by Apichatpong Weerashatul, with Memento Films Intl. for Bruno Dumont’s “Slack Bay,” and with NDM, ND Mantarraya’s sister sales company, on Jonas Carpignano’s “Mediterranea.”

Buys serve to highlight some of Cannes’ bestsellers. Films Distribution has now sold out the world on “My Mother,” an Alchemy U.S. pick-up, from a long sales run-in beginning at Berlin, even before Cannes selection.

Early festival, Le Pacte and Tele Munchen Group (TMG)’s Concorde sealed a significant deal for Germany on competition player “Valley of Love,” with Isabelle Huppert and Gerard Depardieu. Sans star or name director, Italy-set migrant drama “Mediterranea,” Jonas Carpignano’s debut, has closed France with Haut et Court; DCM distributes in Germany.

Bar “Our Little Sister,” a pre-sale, all deals went down at Cannes, said Mantarraya head Jaime Romandia.

Acquisitions may well anticipate what could become a key arthouse trend at this Cannes as last: In a warier distribution market, buyers are focusing on the best-received movies, selected by powerhouse fests.

Most of ND Mantarraya’s pickups were that. A Cannes critical favorite, “Cemetery of Splendor” was described by Variety’s Justin Chang as a “gently hypnotic cinematic enigma.” Arnaud Desplechin’s an “emotionally resonant” coming-of-age prequel to his 1996 title, wrote Chang, “My Golden Years,” won Directors’ Fortnight’s SACD prize, awarded every year to a French-language title by the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers. “Strong female characters and a sympathetic young protag distinguish Yared Zeñeke’s debut feature,” wrote Variety’s Jay Weissberg of “Lamb.”

A joint distribution venture of Carlos Reygadas’ Nodream Cinema and producer partner Romandia’s Mantarraya Producciones, ND Mantarraya purchased 12 titles at 2014’s Cannes.

All of which is not to say that Mexico is an easy market for art films, Romandia insisted. “We’re doing what we can to maintain the market, but Mexico’s circuit for arthouse films is nor increasing.“