Gaumont has gotten European buyers excited about Roschdy Zem’s “Chocolat,” a period drama starring Omar Sy as Cuban artist Rafael Padilla and James Thierree (“Vatel”) as his lifelong friend.

One of Gaumont’s biggest releases of 2016, the 19 million euro movie ($21 million) has pre-sold to Germany (DCM), Benelux (Paradiso), Scandinavia (Miss Label), Switzerland (Ascot Elite), Greece and Romania (Odeon), Poland (Kinoswiat) and Portugal (Lusomundo).

“Chocolat” is being circled by U.S. buyers in Cannes, as the movie showcases a powerful performance from Sy, who earned a Cesar award for his role in the hit “The Intouchables.”

Eric and Nicolas Altmayer’s Mandarin Cinema (“Saint Laurent”) are producing the drama with Omar Sy’s shingle Kokoroco. “Chocolat” is Kokoroco’s first co-production.

The movie charts the life of Padilla, aka Chocolat, who became the first black artist to appear on a French stage in the 19th century and centers around his lifelong friendship with a white artist nicknamed Footit. Gaumont is showing an eight-minute promo reel to Cannes buyers.

The French theatrical rollout is set for Feb. 3.