Kiyonaga Nakagawa from Comstock was the only Japanese buyer present at the Rendez-Vous De Paris, the Unifrance organised screenings that are otherwise targeted at European distributors.
He made a splash taking Japanese rights to TF1 International's Spy Bound (Agents Secrets), directed by Frederic Schoendoerffer, starring Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel.
Other deals included Tartan Films' purchase of UK rights to Les Clefs De Bagnole, from Rezo Films, a distributor recently turned sales agent.
The UK's Artificial Eye took Berlin competition film The Weeping Meadow from Celluloid Dreams. Illness in the family meant that buyers from Artificial Eye had to cut short their visit to Paris, but they had also previously-bought Eric Rohmer's thriller Berlin title Triple Agent and Jacques Rivette's L'Histoire De Marie Et Julien, which premiered in Toronto and reappeared at the Rendez-Vous.
Celluloid, which reported strong interest in its six Berlin titles and six Cannes hopefuls, also sold Weeping Meadow to Bright Angel for The Netherlands. It is holding offers from six countries on Cedric Kahn's Berlin competition picture Red Lights (Feux Rouges). On its films that will go into production this year it sold Paradise Now, Hany Abu Assad's drama about a suicide bomber, to Lucky Red for Italy and is holding six offers on Michel Ocelot's latest animation Memories Of Kirikou.
In total the screenings included 56 films, of which 28 were market premieres. They played to an ever expanding audience of 380 buyers and 110 journalists. Although they got the jump on Rotterdam titles including Raoul Ruiz' Une Place Parmi Les Vivants and Berlin-bound The Wooden Camera, buyers said that there was no single stand-out title that got large numbers of them salivating.
Unifrance is hoping to reverse the downtrend in overseas admissions for French films - last year they dropped from 55 million to 48 million - and is confident that the big-budget youth-targeted films soon to reach French domestic screens will begin to have a positive impact from the second half of 2004.