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Wild Bunch picks up Zach Braff's Kickstarter film

EXCLUSIVE: Cannes slate also includes latest films from Abel Ferrara, Larry Clark, Xavier Beauvois, Ken Loach, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Laurent Tirard, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and Nicole Garcia.

Wild Bunch has picked up international sales on Zach Braff’s [pictured] upcoming comedy Wish I Was Here about an out-of-work actor who decides to home school his two children.

The project has created a stir in recent weeks for Braff’s decision to turn to crowd-funding site Kickstarter to raise part of the budget. To date some $2.5m has been pledged against an original goal of $2.0m.

“We just loved the script… it’s in the same spirit as Garden State,” said Wild Bunch co-chief Vincent Maraval, referring to Braff’s cult debut feature about a young man who returns to his hometown in New Jersey for the funeral of his mother.

Wish I Was Here is among a trio of last-minute additions to Wild Bunch’s 40-picture Cannes slate.

The company has also just signed Spanish Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s Wayfare-backed Villain, with Shia LaBeouf attached.

Other freshly acquired titles include Larry Clark’s Paris-set skateboarding picture The Smell of Us, inspired by youngsters who hang out at the Trocadero Gardens in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

It is Clark’s first French-language film. The filmmaker fell upon the Trocadero skateboarding scene while preparing a retrospective at the nearby Museum of Modern Art in 2010.

“They’re mainly teenagers from well-off backgrounds… it captures their attitude towards sex and their morals in general,” says Maraval.

Other new titles for Cannes include Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York inspired by the downfall of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2011.

Early footage of the picture, starring Gerard Depardieu as a powerful man “driven by a frenzied and unbridled sexual hunger” opposite Jacqueline Bisset as his long-suffering wife, will be screened towards the end of the festival.

Wild Bunch will also kick-off sales on Xavier Beauvois’ The Price of Fame, based on the true story of two social misfits who body-snatched the corpse of Charlie Chaplin from his grave in Switzerland. The latest film from Why Not Productions, the picture is currently shooting

“It’s a rare comedy for Beauvois,” says Maraval. “His films have always tended to be rather sombre even though he is very funny in real-life. It’s a tribute to Chaplin… it is full of references to Chaplin’s films.”

The company will also unveil Laurent Tirard’s Nicholas on Holiday, a sequel to his hit Little Nicholas – both based on the best-selling children classics by writer and illustrator team René Goscinny and Jean-Jacques Sempé.

Tirard co-wrote the screenplay with Gregoire Vigneron in collaboration with Toto the Hero director Jaco Van Dormael. The film will shoot this summer in a resort on the French Atlantic Coast.

“Jaco Van Dormael helped out on the script and will probably also be on the set as a sort of artistic advisor,” says Maraval, explaining that the Belgian director was brought on to the project briefly after Tirard fell ill during development.

Other upcoming films include the Dardenne brothers Two Days, One Night starring Marion Cotillard as a young women trying to track down her colleagues over the weekend to convince them to forego their bonuses so she can keep her job. The picture, co-produced by Les Films du Fleuve and Paris-based Denis Freyd for Archipel 25, shoots this summer.

“It’s their first film with a big star but it remains a true Dardenne film… in all the time we’ve worked with this for me is their most accomplished scripts,” says Maraval. 

Sales will also kick-off on Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall based on the true story of Jimmy Gralton who was ostracised by his community in rural Ireland for building a dance hall.

The company will also screen a promo for Fabrice du Welz’, Thomas Langmann-produced action picture Colt 45 about a young police armourer and ace shot who is corrupted by an older cop and then resorts to extreme means to extricate himself from the resulting mess.

Other new French pictures include Nicole Garcia’s Going Away about an eccentric heir to a fortune who flees his family and their wealth, and Philippe Garrel’s Jealousy starring Louis Garrel and Anna Mouglalis, which will be ready in time for Toronto or Venice slot.

There will also be a special presentation for Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Mongolia-set 3D picture Wolf Totem about a student who is banished to Inner Mongolia in the 1960s where comes under the spell of the region’s wolves.  

The company is selling six of films in competition including The Immigrant and Only God Forgives and Jeune & Jolie as well as Special Screener Blood Ties and Claire Denis’ Bastards which will screen in Un Certain Regard.

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