EXCLUSIVE: Company to co-sell the title with Wild Bunch in Santa Monica. 

Ahead of the AFM, Celluloid Dreams has launched sales on Jacques Audiard’s upcoming untitled film, revolving around Sri Lankan Tamil exiles trying to build a life in Paris.

The company has already sent out the script to the distributors of Audiard’s last film Rust and Bone, who have until the AFM to make an offer and sign a deal.

Any territories remaining at the beginning of the market will be co-sold by Celluloid and Wild Bunch, with the former’s founding CEO Hengameh Panahi having the final say on the deals.

The film, produced by long-time Audiard collaborators Pascal Caucheteux and Grégoire Sorlat of Why Not Productions, and Audiard’s company Page 114, began shooting in Paris on October 22.

Based on a script by Audiard, Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré, it revolves around three Sri Lankan asylum seekers housed in a tough Parisian suburb who discover that life in France is not as they imagined it.

“I’m loathe to give too much detail about the story not because I want to veil the production in mystery but a Jacques Audiard script is always so nuanced and multi-layered leaving him space to enhance it with his actors and his immense filmmaking talent,” said Panahi.

“I’ve been following the process of his filmmaking for some time now. He’s a true artist and works in a very free and creative way with an urge for demanding excellency. You can’t pin him down. What’s on the page is the blue print for the film, he adds so much during the shooting process and then in the editing room that you really have to wait until the final cut.”

“What I can add is that Jacques mentioned Montesquieu’s Persian Letters in the sense of exploring how foreigners perceive French people and French culture,” she added, referring to the 18th century work about two Persian noblemen travelling through France. 

Because Audiard is primed to shoot another bigger budget English-language production straight after this picture, Panahi is aiming to organise a coordinated release of the film tied to its festival launch –“ hopefully” in Cannes — next year. There are no details on the latter project as yet. 

A number of additional materials including a making of documentary are also being prepared alongside the shoot to accompany the picture.

Other AFM titles

Other titles on Celluloid Dreams’ AFM slate include S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk set in the mid-1800s on the border of what is now Texas and New Mexico and revolving around a small town sheriff’s mission to rescue a group of kidnapped inhabitants from a band of cannibalistic troglodytes. 

The picture, starring Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and Jena Malone, has just wrapped. The long-gestated project is a feature directorial debut for Zahler, who wrote Michael Mann’s The Big Stone and Park Chan-Wook’s The Brigands of Rattleborge.

“Now the film has wrapped, I am hoping to close the remaining territories. The US is still open,” said Panahi, who is hoping to have a photo book and sizzle reel at the AFM.

Previously announced deals on the film include to France (The Jokers), Germany (Constantin Film), Russia (Luxor) and Australia (Transmission Films), UK (The Works) and Middle East (Falcon Films).

Panahi will also continue pre-sales on Bruce Beresford’s upcoming Tuscan-set romantic, battle of the sexes comedy Cooking with Fernet Branca revolving around two seemingly incompatible expats renting adjacent villas. Panahi hopes to announce key cast during the market.

Completed films on the slate include Saar Klein’s Thing People Do and Lawrence Michael Levine’s Wild Canaries.

Klein’s tale about an insurance broker, with a high maintenance family, who takes desperate measures when he is fired from his job was recently picked up by Chrysalis Films for France after it won the 40th Anniversary Award at the Deauville Film Festival in September.