“The Velvet Queen” (La Panthere des neiges), Marie Amiguet’s lushly lensed documentary which world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the Cinema for the Climate section, has lured buyers in major territories, including the U.S.
Represented in international markets by London-based banner The Bureau Sales, “The Velvet Queen” follows award-winning nature photographer Vincent Munier and writer Sylvain Tesson on a journey across the Tibetan highlands to document the infamously elusive snow leopard. Munier introduces Tesson to the subtle art of waiting from a blind spot, tracking animals and finding the patience to catch sight of the beasts. Through their exploration of the Tibetan peaks, the two men engage in a philosophical conversation about the place of humans among living beings and celebrate the beauty of the world.
Produced by Paprika (“Two of Us”), Kobalann and Le Bureau, the highly cinematic documentary also boasts an original score by Warren Ellis featuring Nick Cave.
Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired U.S. rights to the documentary and is planning a traditional theatrical release for the title.
“‘The Velvet Queen’ is a stunningly beautiful experience, filled with a lifetime’s worth of wisdom and insight,” said Oscilloscope Laboratories’ Dan Berger. “Marie Amiguet’s non-traditional storytelling truly embraces the adage ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.’ And what a wonderful journey it is.”
The Bureau Sales, whose team is headed by Clementine Hugot, also scored a flurry of deals for the documentary, which was shown for the first time to buyers and audiences at Cannes. Territories closed at Cannes include Australia and New Zealand (Madman), Germany and Austria (MFA), Switzerland (Filmcoopi), Benelux (Periscoop & Lumiere), Italy (Wanted), Spain (Wanda) and China (DD Dream). Other territories are currently under discussions.
Haut et court, the prestige French distributor of Cannes-prizewinning “Compartment no.6,” will release “The Velvet Queen” in December.
“I couldn’t be happier with the initial sales made on the film so far,” said Clementine Hugot, head of sales at The Bureau Sales. “We have passionate distributors attached who took the time to prioritize the film and believe in its potential in spite of coverage that often focuses on competition titles and high profile premieres, when in reality films such as this are what need the support most.”
Tesson, who is also credited as cinematographer on the film along with Munier, previously wrote about his exploration in the illustrated book “La Panthere des neiges” which won the prestigious Prix Renaudot in 2019 and sold more than 270,000 units.
Le Bureau is a well-established production company with a track record in documentaries (David Dufresne’s “The Monopoly of Violence”) and films (Jessica Hausner’s “Little Joe”).