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San Sebastian: Wide Takes Berger’s ‘After Eden’ (EXCLUSIVE)

An exploration of the impact of pornography, ‘Eden’ contends for San Sebastian’s Kutxa New Directors Prize

SAN SEBASTIAN – Swooping on one of the most intriguing of San Sebastian Fest New Directors’ titles, Loic Magneron’s Paris-based Wide Management has acquired world sales rights to Canada-based Hans Christian Berger’s debut “After Eden,” an analysis of gonzo pornography and its impact on aficionados.

Move comes as Wide’s Magneron attends San Sebastian not only as a sale agent but also to acquire films for French theatrical release: Wide’s launched an indie cinema theater distrib operation in France this April with “The Priest’s Children,” in collaboration with Charlie Hebdo.

World premiering Sept. 25 at the Spanish fest’s New Directors section, one of its main sidebars carrying a weighty €50,000 ($57,000) cash prize, “After Eden” is billed as a story of love and temptation in the age of Internet pornography. It marks the theatrical debut of Canadian adult film star and Vancouver indie scene actress Alyssa Reece in a film where fantasy, channeling a man’s pornography-influenced obsessions and gaze, imperils real human contact.

Cameron Crosby (“The Tree Inside”) plays a reclusive university student fixated on Eve (Reece), a successful adult performer. Film tracks their parallel lives until they finally meets he persuades her to star in his private sex tape. Adam’s dream becomes a reality as his video camera turns their real-life encounter into a work of fiction, But, the film asks, where does that leave Eve?

Said Berger: “Neither condemning or justifying it, I was interested in examining contemporary mainstream pornography as a lens onto the world I live in and exploring its place in an increasingly dominant global culture of dispensable image-making, instant gratification and digestible violence.”

“A highly interesting and somewhat subversive film, which mixes different narrative styles” Magneron said, movie differentiates between different story layers: European realist cinema in near dialogue-free sequences, contrasting with adult film interviews.

“’After Eden’ can be attractive for pay TV and indie theatrical distributors which focus on sexuality and subversive cinema, which provide a strong market angles. The protagonists are not kids but young adults,” which can appeal to that kind of audience,” Magneron added.

Film underscores a trend in auteur films – think Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac” and Gaspar Noe’s “Love,” which played Berlin and Cannes respectively, to diffuse the boundaries between art and adult moviemaking.

Also sold worldwide by Wide, “The Priest’s Children” notched up 20,000 admissions in France, “which was really successful for our first release,” Magneron said.

Bowing Aug. 26 in French theaters, German documentary “Ain’t It California” is still playing 20 screens, and has sold 40,000 tickets (about $270,000) and counting, Magneron added.

Wide will now launch its French domestic DVD distrib operation with “The Priest’s Children.” And it wants more.

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