EXCLUSIVE: Chinese child abduction film to screen in Toronto following world premiere in Venice.
Paris-based Versatile has acquired international sales on Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s child abduction drama Dearest ahead of a Special Presentation screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 4-14).
“It’s gives us great pleasure to be working with an Asian film by a director with such a strong international reputation and track record,” said Boye.
The deal was sealed at the Venice Film Festival (Aug 27 - Sept 6) where the film was given a high profile Out of Competition world premiere in the presence of the director and key cast last week (Aug 28).
“We’ve been interested in the film for some time and wanted to meet the makers in person in Venice to seal the deal,” said Versatile co-chief Pape Boye.
Boye and Versatile co-chief Violaine Pichon brokered the deal with Chan and Katherine Lee of We Distribution Limited, the sales arm of Chan’s We Pictures Limited.
Under the rights deal, We retains Asia rights and Versatile handles the rest of the world.
The tale of a divorced couple brought together by the search for their abducted son features an ensemble Chinese cast including household name Zhao Wei; Huang Bo, who was recently seen in the $200m hit Lost in Thailand; Hao Lei, who was the female lead in Lou Ye’s Mystery; and Tong Dawei, who is soon to be seen in John Woo’s The Crossing.
The story is based on a true story. Chan was inspired to make a film based on the tale after seeing a news documentary on the subject.
“The incredible journey of two parents in search of their abducted son takes us into the multiple layers of contemporary Chinese society,” said Chan.
Other partners on the film include Alibaba Pictures Group, Stellar Mega Films, J.Q. Pictures, Enlight Pictures, Shanghai Real Thing Media, HB Studio and PULIN Production Limited.
The picture is due to be released in China on Sept 26.
Chan said of the deal with Versatile: “It’s impressive to meet a new company with such energy and enthusiasm in today’s difficult time for foreign films in the international market. We are happy to work together to bring this film to as many audiences as we can.”
Pichon and Boye founded Versatile at the beginning of 2013 with the aim of building an international slate consisting of new talents and existing auteurs.
Films on its slate to date include Philippine Adolfo Alix Jr.’s Second World War drama Death March, Colombian director Franco Lolli’s Gente De Bien, Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Silva’s New York-set Nasty Baby and horror thriller Abbatoir.