×

MUBI, in Cannes With ‘Port Authority,’ Steps Up Production Activity (EXCLUSIVE)

Streaming service MUBI — whose first production, transgender love story “Port Authority” from first-time director Danielle Lessovitz, is in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard — is stepping up film production activity. It now has plans for a 10-picture slate, including a film from French director Rachel Lang.

MUBI has boarded Lang’s “Mon Legionnaire,” her follow-up to “Baden Baden,” which launched in 2016 at Berlin and was MUBI’s first U.S. theatrical release. “Legionnaire,” a drama set against the backdrop of the Foreign Legion, is currently shooting.

Efe Cakarel, CEO of the arthouse streaming service, said he was delighted with Un Certain Regard’s plum Saturday evening slot for the premiere of “Port Authority,” which MUBI boarded in the development stage and co-financed with Rodrigo Teixeira’s RT Features and Martin Scorsese’s Sikelia, which executive produced. WME and France’s MK2 are selling the pic in Cannes, handling U.S. and international, respectively.

“When it comes to production, our approach is different,” said Cakarel, “because we are not trying to optimize the films we finance to come on MUBI exclusively. … We want to make sure that what’s best for the film is the highest possible return on investment for everyone.”

Popular on Variety

Cakarel said the mandate in the first year is to develop about 10 projects and produce two or three films with budgets of about $5 million in tandem with other producers, by initially taking a stake of “anywhere up to 30%” and then “put IN more and more capital in coming years and increase the team working on this slate.”

MUBI senior VP Bobby Allen, who is now fully focused on production, said he had high hopes for a “good theatrical release” for “Port Authority,” which is set in the world of New York’s LGBT Kiki ballroom scene. MUBI has long had a foot in both the streaming and theatrical release camps.

Allen also underlined that he sees MUBI as a “bridge” between English and non-English-language filmmaking, with a preference for U.S. indie films on the English-lingo side. “We really want to be present as producers in both markets,” he said.

The MUBI platform offers a lineup of 30 movies. A new title is added each day as another is removed.

More Film

  • No Hard Feelings

    'No Hard Feelings': Film Review

    At dawn in an orderly, middle-class suburb in regional Germany, three young people — a girl and two guys — stagger home from a night out. Two of them are siblings, two of them friends and two of them are falling in love. One of them is very drunk and tripping over the long blond [...]

  • All the Dead Ones

    'All the Dead Ones': Film Review

    There are a host of important, even vital ideas behind “All the Dead Ones,” a hybrid period piece addressing Brazil’s unresolved legacy of slavery and the imprint it’s had on an all-too-often downplayed contemporary racism of malignant toxicity. Set largely in 1899, 11 years after the abolition of slavery but designed so modern São Paulo [...]

  • Olivia Wilde

    Searchlight Aggressively Pursuing World Rights to Olivia Wilde's 'Perfect' at EFM

    Searchlight Pictures has emerged as the frontrunner for the Olivia Wilde-directed gymnastics movie “Perfect,” amid a days-long bidding war out of Berlin’s EFM. Variety understands that the studio is ‘heavily pursuing’ world rights to the hot title — one of a crop of female-led projects at the market — with A24, Warner Bros. and Neon [...]

  • 'High Ground' Review: Ugly Conflict and

    'High Ground': Film Review

    There’s a hint of John Ford to “High Ground,” a sinewy, sun-baked faceoff between indigenous and invading armies in the Arnhem Land wilderness of Australia, though by now we probably need a better word than “western” for films that situate the tensions and tropes of Hollywood operas in their own distinct geographical context. Handsomely mounted [...]

  • Undine

    'Undine': Film Review

    Christian Petzold’s “Undine” begins with a breakup. Framed tightly on the face of lead actor Paula Beer, we absorb the news as she does. But this is no ordinary separation, and as jilted lovers go, Undine’s far from typical. Her name betrays what sets her apart, although in the vast realm of mythological entities, undines [...]

  • Emma Movie 2020

    'Emma' Starts Strong at Indie Box Office

    Focus Features’ “Emma,” an adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, had a solid opening at the specialty box office this weekend. Director Autumn de Wilde’s feature film debut earned $230,000 in its debut outing across five theaters in New York and Los Angeles, ranking No. 1 in each location. That success translated to a $46,000 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content