Pape Boye and Violane Pichon’s fledgling Versatile Films to launch first slate in Cannes.

 New sales company Versatile Films, launched by Pape Boye and Violane Pichon in Berlin, has announced its first sales slate.

The Paris-based outfit has acquired Russian Taisia Igumentseva’s comedy Bite the Dust and Philippine Adolfo Alix Jr.’s Second World War drama Death March ahead of their Cannes premieres later this month.

Igumentseva won the top prize in the Cannes Cinefondation competition for student short films for The Road To in 2012, thus securing a slot in Official Selection for her debut feature Bite the Dust.

Described by Boye as a comedy in the vein of Emir Kusturica, Bite the Dust revolves around the inhabitants of a Russian rural backwater who decide to hold an end-of-the-world-party when news breaks that a solar flare is about to wipe out mankind. It will be given a special screening.

“We have been following Taisia since her short screened in Cinefondation last year. She was only 23-years-old when she made this film. She is definitely a talent to watch,” said Boye.

“Part of what we want to do is nurture new talents and Taisia certainly fits the bill.”

Bite the Dust was produced by Alexey Uchitel’s Moscow-based Rock Films, which also made Yury Bykov’s Critics’ Week-screener The Major.

Death March, which screens in Un Certain Regard, re-enacts the infamous Second World War Baatan Death March in which the Japanese army forcibly transferred some 80,000 Philippine and American prisoners of war from the battlefield to a prison camp. Some 7,000 to 10,000 soldiers are believed to have died during the 60-mile trek.

“Adolf is one of those director’s with such a strong personal style… his films are immediately recognisable as being by him” said Boye.

Alix was last in Cannes with Manila, co-directed with Raya Martin, which premiered Out Of Competition in 2009. 

Former Celluloid Dreams sales manager Pichon and Funny Balloons founder Boye are aiming to ultimately handle a dozen pictures a year, consisting of new talents as well as established auteur directors.