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Cannes Classics’ ‘The Eyes of Orson Welles’ Scores U.S., Overseas Deals (EXCLUSIVE)

Janus Films has acquired “The Eyes of Orson Welles” for the U.S. and will give the documentary, which premiered in the Cannes Classics lineup, a 2019 release. Billed as a love letter to Welles, Mark Cousins’ film is a portrait of the legendary actor and director through the prism of his many paintings and drawings.

At Cannes, the film garnered a special-distinction commendation in the Golden Eye Documentary Award. Its Cannes debut was especially noteworthy as another Welles project – Netflix’s completion and restoration of Welles’ unfinished movie “The Other Side of the Wind” – was pulled as the streamer said it would not attend the festival.

London-based Dogwoof is handling sales of “The Eyes of Orson Welles” and did the U.S. deal. It will also release the film in the U.K. on Aug. 17. The feature documentary was produced by Bofa, in association with the BBC and Filmstruck, and supported by Creative Scotland’s Screen Fund.

Dogwoof has sealed international deals with A Contracorriente for Spain, I Wonder for Italy, Midas Filmes for Portugal, AMA in Greece, and NonStop for Scandinavia and the Baltics. DDDream has acquired it for China. Talks are underway with buyers in Australia, the CIS region, and in France, where it will likely land with a broadcaster.

Cousins (“The Story of Film: An Odyssey”) wrote, directed, narrated and shot the “The Eyes of Orson Welles,” using hundreds of the late filmmaker’s private drawings and paintings and revealing a rarely seen side of him. Welles’ artworks were provided by his daughter Beatrice, a consultant on the film.

The film was produced by Mary Bell and Adam Dawtrey, and executive produced by Mark Bell, Mark Thomas and Michael Moore.

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