Alongside four titles in Official Selection, the On the Road producers will also market premiere Monkey On My Shoulder, starring Juliette Binoche and Edgar Ramirez.

The 65th edition of the Cannes Film Festival promises to be busy for French mini-major MK2.

The Paris-based company produced competition titles On the Road, Like Someone in Love and Laurence Anyways [pictured] in Un Certain Regard; is handling international sales for a third Palme d’Or contender After the Battle and will premiere Marion Lainé’s Monkey on My Shoulder in the market.

“There aren’t many producers around who’ve had four films in Official Selection in one edition. The last time MK2 had such a great year was in 1982, when my father had a record 12 titles, although of course we’ve had plenty of great Cannes in between,” comments MK2 managing director Nathanael Karmitz, who took over the day-to-day running of the company from his father Marin Karmitz in 2006.

Monkey on My Shoulder, co-starring Juliette Binoche and Edgar Ramirez as two surgeons in the south of France trying to juggle their busy lives with love, is the second feature film for Marion Lainé, after the critically acclaimed A Simple Heart.

“It’s a great love story featuring two great actors who are wonderful on screen together,” comments Karmitz.

The picture has already pre-sold to Benelux (Wild Bunch Benelux), Switzerland (Filmcoopi), Latin America (HBO), Venezuela (Compania Anonima Empreses Cines), Brazil (Imovision) and Greece (Videorama).

The MK2 sales team, headed by Juliette Schrameck will also consolidate sales on Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air (Après mai) as well as its festival titles.

Assayas’ upcoming picture — following a Paris student living through the political and social changes sparked by May 1968 — has already been picked up in 20 territories including North America (IFC), Australia (Palace), Germany and Austria (NFP), Switzerland (Agora), Benelux (A Films) and Taiwan (Filmware International).

Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways has also pre-sold well into 18 territories including including to Taiwan (Filmware), Benelux (Cinemien), Germany (NFP), Switzerland (Filmcoopi), Sweden (Folkets Bio) and Israel (Orlando).

Abbas Kairostami’s Japan-set Like Someone in Love – about the unusual relationship between a retired academic and a young student — has been sold to 12 territories so far including including to Benelux (Wild Bunch Benelux), Latin America (HBO) and Brazil (Imovision). 

Karmitz may be in his early 30s but he is already a veteran producer. The 33-year-old film executive set up his first production company with his childhood friend and present day producing partner Charles Gillibert when he was just 16-year-old.

Together, they founded the Kieslowski Prize, aimed at short film scripts and named, of course, after Krzysztof Kieślowski, whose last four films – The Double Life of Véronique and the Three Colours trilogy – were produced by his father.

“Through the prize we produced some 130 short films. We then moved on to co-producing established directors alongside my father at the same time as exploring our own projects with younger directors,” says Karmitz, who got his first feature-length producer credit alongside his father on Gus Van Sant’s 2007 Paranoid Park.

These days, Karmitz and Gillibert manage the lion’s share of MK2’s production activities, while Marin Karmitz continues to follow directors he has a long relationship with such as Kiarostami.

‘We were work alongside one another. Sometimes my father takes an associate producer credit on our productions, sometimes we take one on his… for Laurence Anyways, it’s just Charles and I,” explains Karmitz.

“Charles and I work closely and in unison but Charles tends to spend more time on the set,” says Karmitz. “It’s not very romantic but I didn’t grow up on film sets surrounded by actors and actresses… what my father did give me, however, was a love of cinema… I grew up hearing about films and directors.”

Karmitz and Gillibert embarked on their On the Road adventure some three years ago after a meeting with Brazilian director Walter Salles for another project.

“This is a project with a 40-year history. Francis Ford Coppola and his company Zoetrope first picked up the rights back in 1978. Salles started working on an adaption some six, seven years ago,” says Karmitz.

“He came to see us about another project and at the end of the meeting we asked him if there was anything else he was working on. He threw an envelope on the table saying ‘I’m also working on this’, inside was the script for On the Road,” he continues. “We loved it and flew out to Los Angeles 15 days later to discuss the rights with Coppola.”

The resulting film —- produced by Karmitz and Gillibert alongside Rebecca Yeldham and Roman Coppola for American Zoetrope  — is one of the most eagerly awaited titles in competition this year.

But it is one title the MK2 sale team will not have push at Cannes – the production is practically sold out with a final big sale announced this week to AMC Networks for North America, where it will released by the company’s distribution labels IFC Films and Sundance Selects. 

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