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Isabelle Huppert’s ‘Souvenir’ Nabbed by Strand Releasing for North American Distribution (EXCLUSIVE)

Strand Releasing will be distributing Bavo Defurne’s “Souvenir,” a music-filled romantic drama boasting Oscar-nominated actress Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”) and an original soundtrack by Pink Martini, in North America.

“Souvenir” stars Huppert as a one-time European singing contestant who won fame years ago only to disappear in a factory job and to be re-discovered by a co-worker named Jean (Kevin Azaïs, “Love at First Fight”). The two collaborate as friends by going back on the road touring for a comeback, but things develop for both her career and their romance.

Repped in international markets by Pathe, “Souvenir” marks the sophomore feature of Defurne, who previously directed “North Sea, Texas” and several short films which have all been handled by Strand Releasing.

“Souvenir” is the latest pic in a string of movies starring Huppert which Strand Releasing has been handling. The outfit has previously released Anne Fontaine’s “My Worst Nightmare,” Guillaume Nicloux’s “Valley of Love,” and Catherine Breillat’s “Abuse of Weakness.”

The deal was done between Jon Gerrans and Marcus Hu of Strand Releasing and Muriel Sauzay and Themba Bhebhe of Pathe International.

Commenting on the deal, Defurne said the “film has been having an amazing journey and is coming to the U.S at what it seems to be the perfect time.”

“It’s a story about hope and self realization. Huppert’s character lost her love, her career, every purpose in life, but she fights back. Now and then life does offer us a real opportunity for happiness, we just have to grab it when it comes by, like she tries to do,” said Defurne, who also noted the fruitful collaboration which he has been having with Strand Release on all his films.

Yves Verbraeken, who co-wrote and produced “Souvenir,” concurred. “We feel blessed to collaborate with Strand Releasing yet again, this time in bringing the exciting cocktail of great acting, romance, comedy and catchy Pink Martini songs that is “Souvenir” to U.S. screens.”

Huppert, who won a Golden Globe along with a flurry of prizes for her performance in Pau Verhoeven’s “Elle,” was present at this year’s Cannes Film Festival with two films: Sang-soo Hong’s “Claire’s Camera” in special screenings and Michael Haneke’s “Happy End” in competition.

Based in Los Angeles and ran by Gerrans and Hu, Strand Releasing boasts a slate of upscale world cinema titles, including Paolo Virzi’s “Like Crazy” which premiered last year at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight, Joao Pedro Rodrigues’s “The Ornithologist” which won best director at Locarno and Amat Escalante’s “The Untamed,” winner of the Silver Lion at Venice.

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