Clinching more than 50 deals with almost 40 distributors worldwide, Danish international sales company, TrustNordisk, saw this year’s Cannes International Film festival as ”the best market for years”.
But it was also unusual in another way. One project, Danish director Lars von Trier’s documentary collaboration with Martin Scorsese: The Five Obstructions: Scorsese vs Trier, was sold from the pitch alone (to Magnolia for the US, Central Partnership for Russia, and Madman for Australia/New Zealand).
And 40% of the contracts were signed for unfinished films.
”For a long time it has been difficult to make presales, especially for product with a non-English dialogue, to major territories, but now it seems to work again,” explained head of sales, Susan Wendt. ”Already in Berlin, we licensed the Norwegian Headhunters (Hodejegerne) to all English-speaking contries.
”It helps if you have well-known directors – von Trier, Susanne Bier – to back it, but a script and a strong promo will also do. In Cannes international distributors generally complained about the many screenplays they had received before the festival, and how quickly the projects were gone.
”Both the competition among buyers, their interest in non-English-speaking productions and their spending power have apparently returned – among our best-sellers were a Danish period piece (A Royal Affair) and a Norwegian World War II epic (Comrade),” Wendt added.
Nikolaj Arcel’s 18th century love story, A Royal Affair, was picked up for nine of the biggest territories, including the US (Magnolia), Australia (Madman), the UK (Metrodome), Germany (MFA), while Petter Næss’ Comrade was acquired for the UK (Metrodome), Australia (Vendetta) and Spain (Golem).
”In many ways it was a historic Cannes for TrustNordisk,” CEO Rikke Ennis summed up. ”We had three films in the official selection, got a prize for Kirsten Dunst in von Trier’s Melancholia, and handled one of the strongest European titles in the market, Norwegian director Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters, which went to more than 25 countries.”