Jacques Audiard’s ‘Paris, 13th District’ Almost Sells Out Worldwide for Playtime (EXCLUSIVE)

Paris, 13th District
Shanna Besson

Playtime has nearly sold out Jacques Audiard’s “Paris, 13th District,” one of the critical highlights of this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

The black-and-white relationship drama has been applauded for breakthrough performances by newcomer Lucie Zhang, Makita Samba and Noemie Merland (“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”), as well as a sharp and modern script penned by Audiard, Léa Mysius (“Ava”) and Celine Sciamma (“Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” “My Life as a Zucchini”).

Lighthearted, bold and profound, the movie tackles the issues of sexuality, love and dating through the story of Emilie, Camille, Nora and Amber, four young adults who are friends and sometimes lovers in Paris’s 13th arrondissement. The film is loosely based on New Yorker cartoonist Adrian Tomine’s collection of graphic short stories “Killing and Dying.”

Playtime has closed a raft of deals on “Paris, 13th District” for Latin America (California Filmes), Spain (Avalon), Germany/Austria (Neue Visionen), Italy (Cineone/Europictures), Israel (Lev Cinema), Lithuania/Estonia/Latva/CIS (Aone) and Lebanon & Gulf countries (Front Row). Negotiations are ongoing with Australia and New Zealand and Korea.

Ahead of its world premiere, the film had pre-sold to IFC Films for the U.S. as well as for the U.K. (Curzon), Canada (MK2 Mile End), Scandinavia (Scanbox), Japan (Longride), South Korea (Challan), Benelux (Cineart), Switzerland (Filmcoopi), Ex-Yugoslavia (MCF), Poland (Gutek Film), as well as the Czech Republic and Slovakia (Aerofilms).

“Paris, 13th District” was produced by Audiard and Valérie Schermann through their Paris-based banner Page 114. Memento will release the movie in France.

“Paris, 13th District” marks Audiard’s follow-up to “The Sisters Brothers,” a period film starring Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly and Jake Gyllenhaal. “The Sisters Brothers” won Audiard the best director nod at Venice in 2018 and went on to play at San Sebastian. Audiard previously won the Palme d’Or at Cannes with “Dheepan.”

Playtime boarded the project at a very early stage. Playtime founder-partner Nicolas Brigaud-Robert said the company now aims at positioning itself on projects as more than a sales agent in order to access the best projects and “maximize its role.”

“We come in much earlier in projects. We invest heavily in IP, develop our own scripts with co-producers and producers and provide packaging and international financing,” said Brigaud-Robert, who pointed out that Playtime Group also comprises Jean-Christophe Simon’s Films Boutique in Berlin, Fabien Westerhoff’s Film Constellation in London and Amsterdam and Pamela Leu’s Be For Films in Brussels.