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Cannes Buyers Adopt Laszlo Nemes’ ‘Son of Saul’ From Films Distribution (EXCLUSIVE)

Son of Saul Cannes Film Festival
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

CANNES– Hungarian helmer-writer Laszlo Nemes’ Holocaust drama “Son of Saul,” the only directorial debut playing in competition at Cannes, has sold worldwide.

Repped in international markets by Films Distribution, “Son of Saul” was acquired for the U.K. (Artificial Eye), Spain (Avalon), Italy (Teodora), Israel (Orlando), Portugal (Midas Filmes), Benelux (Cineart), Taiwan (Maison Motion), Poland (Gutek) and Greece (Filmtrade), among other territories.

Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, co-founder of Paris-based Films Distribution, told Variety that he is closing Japan. Germany is surprisingly the last territory to have expressed interest in the movie.

“Son of Saul” follows the horrific journey of an Auschwitz prisoner who was forced, along with other prisoners, to work at the camp, and assist in the extermination and disposal of fellow Jews.

The Hungarian movie was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics for North America and a bunch of other territories (including Australia) a day after its official screening. Ad Vitam will release it in November; Mozinet will distribute in Hungary.

Brigaud-Robert said he and his team discovered Nemes during a confab and has followed him even since. “We spend all year scouting for promising filmmakers from across the world, and that’s the kind of dedication we must have in order to find a director like Laszlo Nemes, who presents his very first movie in competition at Cannes,” said Brigaud-Robert.

The exec also said the fact that “Son of Saul,” a movie about the Holocaust, has sold in every Asian territory underscores the movie’s powerful impact on audiences.

“Son of Saul” ranks as one of the best-reviewed movies of the competition and could either snatch up the Camera d’Or for best first film or one the main prizes that will be announced by jury presidents Joel and Ethan Coen at the festival’s closing ceremony on Sunday.