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Orange Studio Acquires Cannes-Bound ‘Rafiki,’ ‘To the Ends of the World’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Launched six months ago, Orange Studio’s international sales division will be hitting the Cannes Film Festival with three movies across various selections, including a pair of new acquisitions, Guillaume Nicloux’s Directors’ Fortnight player “To the Ends of the World” and “Rafiki” (pictured), Wanuri Kahiu’s LGBT love story slated for Un Certain Regard.

“Rafiki” has just been banned by authorities in Kenya, where homosexuality is illegal. Adapted from “Jambula Tree,” a short story by Uganda’s Monica Arac de Nyeko, the film tells the story of two teenage girls whose developing romance puts them at odds with their families and community.

Météore Films will release “Rafiki” in France. Andrei Kamarowsky, who heads up Orange Studio’s international sales division with Emilie Serres, said “Rafiki” would be the first Kenyan movie to be presented at Cannes.

Orange Studio has also acquired international sales rights to “To the Ends of the World,” one of the most anticipated French films selected for Directors’ Fortnight. The ambitious film, which stars Gaspard Ulliel (“Saint Laurent”) and Gérard Depardieu, is set in Indochina, in 1945, and follows a young French soldier who survives a brutal massacre in which his brother dies before his eyes. Thirsty for revenge, he embarks on a secret mission to find the assassins, but his encounter with Maï, a young Indochinese girl, changes everything.

“To the Ends of the World” is produced by Sylvie Pialat’s banner, Les Films du Worso (“Timbuktu”), and Les Armateurs. Ad Vitam will release the film in France.

As previously announced, Orange Studio is also handling sales on Andréa Bescond and Eric Métayer’s Un Certain Regard player”Little Tickles,” a heartwarming film based on Bescond’s autobiographical play about a funny, intense and wild young woman who comes to term with the abuse she suffered as a child through dancing. The film stars Bescond, Karin Viard (“Polisse”), Clovis Cornillac (“A Long Engagement”) and Pierre Deladonchamps (“Stranger by the Lake”). Orange Studio Distribution will release the film in September in France.

At Cannes, Orange Studio will also be powering up pre-sales on a pair of big-budget, anticipated French comedies: Philippe Lacheau’s “City Hunter” (“Nicky Larson”), a French spinoff of the hit 1980s Japanese manga, and the sequel of Philippe de Chauveron’s “Serial (Bad) Weddings,” the Gallic blockbuster which grossed more than $148.5 million worldwide in 2014.

An action-packed comedy, “City Hunter” will be directed by and star Lacheau, who’s behind some of France’s highest-grossing comedies in recent years, notably the “Babysitting” movie franchise and “Alibi.com.” Sony Pictures has acquired French distribution rights to “City Hunter.”

“Serial (Bad) Weddings 2” will bring back the Verneuil family, an upper-class Catholic couple from a French province and their three daughters who have married men of different faiths. The first film traveled to more than 60 territories and grossed more than 70 million euros worldwide. The entire cast of the first movie is set to star in “Serial (Bad) Weddings 2,” including Christian Clavier (“Asterix & Obelix”) and Chantal Lauby. UGC Distribution will release the movie in France. “Serial (Bad) Weddings 2” has already been pre-sold to Germany (Neue Visionen), Benelux (Belga) and Switzerland (JMH).

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