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Wild Bunch boards Simon Brand’s hijacking thriller Default ahead of AFM

EXCLUSIVE: Slate also features new films from Patrice Leconte, Arnaud Desplechin, Santiago Zannou and Philippe Godeau and 11-minute Blood Ties promo.

Wild Bunch has picked up Colombian director Simon Brand’s [pictured] English-language, Africa-set thriller Default ahead of the AFM next week.

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It is one of five new titles Wild Bunch will roll out in Santa Monica alongside premiering extended promos of Vincenzo Natali’s Haunter and Guillaume Canet’s Blood Ties – which has still yet to seal deals in Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan.

Brand’s claustrophobic, found-footage style thriller Default revolves around the hijacking of an American news crew’s plane on an African runway by Somali pirates who were the subjects of their reportage.

“It’s a Blair Witch ProjectParanormal Activity-style film… you really feel like you’re there,” commented Wild Bunch’s sales chief Vincent Maraval. “We saw the film and fell for it immediately – it sort of came out of nowhere. CAA, which is handling North America, thinks it will be the standout pic at Sundance.”

The production, starring Greg Callahan, Katherine Moennig, Stephen Lord and David Oyelowo, shot for three weeks in Los Angeles last year.

It is the third feature for former music video director Brand after Unknown and the 2008 Paraiso Travel, which was listed by Time magazine as one of the Latin American films of the decade.

Default was produced by Julian Giraldo at RCN Cine, a subsidiary of Columbian television network RCN launched last year with the aim of making English-language fare aimed at the international market.

Wild Bunch’s AFM slate also features Arnaud Desplechin’s second English-language picture Jimmy P., for which Maraval has Cannes hopes.

It stars Benicio Del Toro as a traumatised American Indian, World War Two veteran opposite French actor Mathieu Amalric as the late, real-life psychoanalyst Georges Devereux, a pioneer of ethnopsychiatry – a school of analysis taking into account the patient’s ethnic background.

“It’s structured a bit like The King’s Speech in that it’s the story of the friendship that grows between the psychoanalyst and Del Toro’s character who discovers his trauma doesn’t have its roots in his war experiences but rather his childhood and the strain of being an American Indian in the United States,” explained Maraval.

‘We’re targeting Cannes of course but those who have seen it also think it could be a candidate for the 2014 Oscars, especially the performance of Benicio,” he added.

Wild Bunch will screen a promo for the film which is currently in post production. Le Pacte will distribute in France.

Other new titles include Patrice Leconte’s first English-language feature A Promise, an adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s bittersweet romance novella Journey into the Past.

Set starting in Germany in 1912, the film stars Rebecca Hall as the wife of a wealthy factory owner many years her senior, Alan Rickman, who falls in love with his private secretary played by Richard Madden. Their mutual passion is put on hold by the outbreak of World War One. 

The picture, produced by Paris-based Fidélité and Belgian Scope Pictures, has just started shooting in Germany. Wild Bunch will be commencing pre-sales at the AFM on the back of the script.

The fourth addition to the slate is Philippe Godeau’s 11.6, exploring the true story of Toni Musulin, a security driver who became a household name in France in 2009 after he stole €11.6m from the Bank of France.

Intouchables co-star François Cluzet stars as the mysterious Musulin in this intriguing bio-pic examining the security guard’s motivations and preparations beforehand. Wild Bunch Distribution will release the film, which is also tagged for a potential Berlin launch, next April.

Also new to Wild Bunch’s line-up is Santiago Zannou’s second film Scorpion in Love, an adaptation of actor Carlos Bardem’s bestseller about former neo-Nazi gang member Julián who turns to boxing in a bid to reinvent himself after a spell in prison. When he starts seeing a mixed-race girl at the gym, he falls even further foul of neo-Nazi chief Solis, who used to be his mentor.

The cast features Bardem as former boxer champion Carlomonte who befriends the young man, Alex Gonzalez as Julián and Javier Bardem as Solis, in his first Spanish film in eight years.

Produced by Che producer Alvaro Longoria for Morena Films, the picture will be distributed by Alta Films in Spain.

Alongside rolling out these new titles, Wild Bunch will also be premiering an 11-minute trailer of Guillaume Canet’s eagerly awaited New York-set Blood Ties, featuring Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, Matthias Schoenaerts and James Caan in the cast. 

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