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Le Pacte’s Comedies ‘Our Happy Holiday,’ ‘The Freshmen’ Lure Cannes Buyers (EXCLUSIVE)

Le Pacte has closed a flurry of deals to major markets on a pair of buzzed-about French comedies, Patrick Cassir’s “Our Happy Holiday” and Thomas Lilti’s “The Freshmen” at Cannes’s film market.

“The Freshmen” reteams Lilti with French actor Vincent Lacoste who toplined “Hippocrate,” Lilti’s feature debut which world premiered at Cannes’s Critics Week and turned out to be a critical and commercial success in France and abroad.

Le Pacte hosted four market screenings for the film at Cannes and has now sold it to Italy (Movies inspired), Canada (Eye Steel Film), Switzerland (Filmcoopi), Austria (Thimfilm) and Benelux (Athena), Colombia, Peru and Ecuador (Cineplex), Central America (Cinepolis).

Camille Neel, Le Pacte’s head of international sales, said Lilti’s last film, “Irreplaceable” sold 1.6 million admissions in France and 1.2 million abroad. “Lilti has become popular among foreign buyers thanks to his great track record — both ‘Hippocrate” and ‘Irreplaceable’ have been successful,” said Neel, adding that Lilti has been using his previous experience as a doctor to give depth to his characters.”

“The Freshmen” centers on Antoine, a young man who is about to start his first year of medical school for the third time, and Benjamin, a new freshman who has just graduated from high school. In a fiercely competitive environment, the two students try to adapt and find a middle ground between despair and hope.

Lacoste, who’s in Cannes with Christophe Honoré’s competition player “Sorry Angel,” stars in “The Freshmen” opposite William Lebghil’s “((Girl)Friend)”.

“The Freshmen” was produced by 31 Juin Films and Les Films du Parc. Le Pacte will give “The Freshmen” a large release on 400 copies on Sept. 12.

Meanwhile, “Our Happy Holidays,” which marks Cassir’s directorial debut, follows Marion and Ben, a couple born on Tinder who decide on a whim to go on a summer trip together. But it turns out that they have different ideas of what a dream holiday should look like.

Le Pacte has pre-sold the film to Canada (Axia Films), Russia (World Vision), Greece (Feelgood), Taiwan (Swallowing) and Benelux (Athena).

The gag-ladden film stars well-known French actors Camille Chamoux (“Love is Dead”), Jonathan Cohen “(Girl)Friend”), Camille Cottin (“Call My Agent!”) and Jeremy Elkaim (“Declaration of War”).

“Our Happy Holidays” was produced by Michael Gentile at Paris-based The Film which has Marie Monge’s “Treat Me Like Fire” playing at Cannes’s Directors Fortnight. As with “The Freshmen,” Le Pacte will give “Our Happy Holidays” a fairly large release on 350 prints. The French release is expected around March, following the Alpes d’Huez comedy film festival.

Neel said buyers have responded to these two French movies because they boast strong marketing and concepts, and are comedies with universal themes.

Le Pacte has four films at Cannes: A.B Shawky’s Egyptian drama “Yomeddine,” David Robert Mitchell’s “Under The Silver Lake,” Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters.”

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