Charades, the sales firm launched three years ago by former execs at Wild Bunch, Gaumont and Studiocanal, will roll into the Berlinale’s European Film Market with a raft of pre-sales on anticipated French projects, including “The Rosemaker” with Catherine Frot and Laurent Tirard’s “The Speech.”
Charades will unveil the promos of both films, as well as “Madeleine Collins,” Antoine Barraud’s psychological drama headlined by Virginie Efira, and will be hosting the market premieres of Sebastien Demoustier’s “The Girl With a Bracelet” which is generating strong box office returns in France, where it opened last week, and Bruno Merle’s “Felicita.”
A psychological drama, starring Chiara Mastroianni and Roschdy Zem, “The Girl With a Bracelet,” has already attracted 100,000 admissions in five days. The film follows a 16-year-old who stands trial for the murder of her best friend and begins to confess to a secret life that she kept from her parents.
Ahead of its market bow at the EFM, the film got picked up for Italy (Satine Film), Spain (Surtsey), Brazil (Ilda Santiago) and Switzerland (Praesens).
“The Rosemaker,” now in post-production, has pre-sold to former Yugoslavia (2i), Greece (Feelgood), Israel (Forum), Poland (Forum), Portugal (Lusomundo), Germany (Neue Visionen), Japan (Shochiku), Benelux (Vertigo), Taiwan (Avjet), Spain (Bteam) and Airlines (Encore Inflight).
“The Rosemaker,” which marks Pierre Pinaud’s sophomore feature, stars Frot (“The Midwife”) as Eve, a childless woman who has isolated herself from others and is a famous rose grower on the verge on bankruptcy. In a desperate attempt to rescue her business, she hires Serge, Nadège and Fred, three lame ducks enrolled in a back-to-work program who do not have any horticulture skills, and unexpectedly finds out that nurturing others is even more rewarding than creating flowers. The film is produced by Estrella Productions (“Rock the Casbah”).
“We try to look for French-speaking films that have a theatrical potential, and are pre-sellable without being predictable,” said Yohann Comte, who co-founded Charades with Pierre Mazars, Carole Baraton and Constantin Briest.
“We tend to go for either films from first and second-time directors with a strong cast like ‘Madeleine Collins’ with (Virginie) Efira, ‘The Rosemaker’ with (Catherine) Frot, ‘Skies of Lebanon’ with Alba Rohrwacher and ‘Felicita’ with Pio Marmai, or movies with singular stories directed by established filmmakers like Laurent Tirard with ‘The Speech’ or ‘Hunted’ from Vincent Paronnaud,” added Comte.
“The Speech” has pre-sold to Switzerland (Filmcoopi) and Benelux (Cineart). Tirard is the well-known French helmer of “Little Nicholas” and “Astérix and Obélix: God Save Britannia.” The film is adapted from Fabcaro’s novel “Le discours,” and tells the story of Adrien, who is going through an existential crisis and is about to get dumped by his girlfriend. During a family dinner, Adrien is asked to prepare a speech for the wedding ceremony of his sister and brother in-law. As he starts imagining what he would say, Adrien’s mind gets lost in a flurry of hilarious thoughts and twisted memories about his family.
“The Speech” is produced by Les Films Sur Mesure and will be released in France by Le Pacte. It stars Benjamin Lavernhe and Sara Giraudeau.
Another hot French title on Charades’ slate, Christophe Honoré’s “On a Magical Night,” was bought by Italy (Officine Ubu), Australia (Palace), Spain (Noucinemart), Portugal (Leopardo), Israel (Lev), Japan (Bitters End), Brazil (Imovision), Ex-Yugoslavia (2i), Taiwan (Light year Images), Greece (One from the Heart), Baltics and Russia (Provzglyad), India (PVR), Switzerland (Xenix) and South Korea (Watcha).
“On a Magical Night” world premiered at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard and was previously acquired by Strand Releasing for U.S. rights. The movie is a sophisticated comedy about married couple at crisis point. The movie stars Mastroianni, Benjamin Biolay and Vincent Lacoste. “On a Magical Night” is produced by Les Films Pelléas.
Charades has also scored sales on Antoine Raimbault’s murder trial drama “Conviction,” which is inspired by the real-life case of Jacques Viguier, who was accused of killing his wife after she mysteriously disappeared in 2000.
Starring Olivier Gourmet and Marina Foïs, the movie sold to Italy (Movies Inspired), Cetera (Japan), Greece (Weird Wave), Poland (Ale Kino+), and CC (China Airlines), among other territories.
One of the few documentaries on Charades’ roster, Gilles de Maistre’s “Forward” has sold to Germany (Neue Visionen), Italy (Officine Ubu), Switzerland (Impuls), Benelux (Vertigo), Taiwan (Proview), Tunisia (Goubantini) and French-speaking Africa (Films 26).
Charades has also continued sales on Louis-Julien Petit’s “Invisibles,” a heartfelt comedy-drama about social workers who embark on a race against the clock to integrate some homeless women back into society by all means, even unorthodox ones, before the shutting down of their shelter. The film has sold to Latin America (Impacto).
At the EFM, Charades will be pursuing sales on “Felicita,” a film told through the eyes of a little girl and chronicling the chaotic life of a family right before start of classes. “Felicita” stars Pio Marmai and Camille Rutherford, and is produced by Unité de Production. The company is also expected to lure buyers with “Madeleine Collins,” starring Efira as Judith who leads a double life between Switzerland and France. The film is produced by Les Films du Bélier (“Diamantino”).