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Takashi Miike’s ‘First Love’ Bought by Well Go for North America

HanWay Films also closes raft of international deals

Well Go USA has taken North American rights to Takashi Miike’s “First Love,” which had its world premiere in Cannes as part of the Directors’ Fortnight lineup. Well Go said the picture will be released in select theaters later this year, with a digital and home entertainment release scheduled for early 2020. The deal was negotiated by Doris Pfardrescher on behalf of Well Go USA with HanWay Films and ICM Partners.

“Takashi Miike is one of the most exciting filmmakers working in international cinema today,” Pfardrescher said. “His new film, ‘First Love,’ continues his extraordinary track record for interesting and provocative films and audiences will be blown away.”

HanWay boarded sales on the film ahead of Cannes and reps worldwide rights, excluding Asia and Australasia, where they are with Toei Films. It has closed several other deals, including with Haut et Court in France; Eurovideo in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland; and Nonstop in Scandinavia.

Elsewhere in Europe, Odeon has taken the rights for Greece, Mars for Turkey, Paradise for the CIS region, and Frontrow for the Middle East.

HanWay chief Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company re-teamed with Miike on “First Love,” having previously worked together on “Blade of the Immortal,” “Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai” and “13 Assassins.”

The Japanese-U.K. collaboration is set during one night in Tokyo and follows Leo, a down-on-his-luck young boxer, who meets his first love, Monica, a call girl and an addict but still an innocent. Monica gets caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme, and the two are pursued by a corrupt cop, a Yakuza, and a female assassin.

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