All Australia's independent distributors, includingfirst-time attendee Jump Street Films and free-spending Dendy Films, cameback from Cannes with films in their suitcases.
Accent bought a pair of films from Wild Bunch: Sex AndPhilosophy and Sheitan.
Sex And Philosophy isKandahar director MohsenMakhmalbaf's take on passion and possession through the eyes of a man whoarranges to meet all four of his lovers on the afternoon of his 40th birthday.Accent general manager Georgev Papadopolous describes Sheitan, starring Vincent Cassel, as a film that combines anarchic knockabout comedy with nerve-shredding suspense,jet-black humour and gut-wrenching bloody horror'.
Accent also bought ones from TF1 International. WassupRockers is Larry Clark's drama abouta group of Latino teenagers in South Central LA who, instead of conforming tothe hip hop culture of their gang-infested neighbourhood, wear tight pants andlisten to punk rock.
Fledgling distributor Aztec is very excited about itsacquisitions. From Celluloid Dreams it secured director Bent Hamer'sout-of-competition Factotum, based on aBukowski tale and starring Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei. FromAtrix Films it picked up the documentary Aktus, set in the Arctic Circle.
Acquisitions manager Simon Killen also signed for twoprojects from Gemini Films in France on the basis of their scripts. TheInner Life Of Martin Frost, is written bynovelist Paul Auster, who is also one of the producers, and is set to star LiveSchrieber, Irene Jacob and Michael Imperioli. The French/English languageproduction A Few Days In September,has been written by Santiago Amigorena and has actors John Turturro andJuliette Binoche attached.
Richard Payten and Andrew Mackie went on the biggest buyingspree of all Australian distributors at Cannes, coming away with eight filmsand empty wallets.
These included To Paint Or Make Love, directed by brothers Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieuand sold by Pyramide International, and the psychological drama Hidden, which saw Michael Haneke head home with the prizefor best director. Les Film Du Losange are handling sales.
The two titles from Celluloid Dreams were LoneScherfig's drama Good, which isset to star the homegrown star Hugh Jackman, and Water, the third film in director Deepa Mehta's fireand earth trilogy.
The two titles from Fortissimo were director MarcEvans'' Snowcake, now shooting inCanada and starring Sigourney Weaver, and Berlin winner U-Carmen, Mark Dornford-May's adaptation of the Carmenopera and winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin this year.
Dendy also bought director Lajos Koltai's Holocaustdrama, Hungary's biggest ever domestic hit Fateless, from Mark Horowitz, who is now at Thinkfilm, whichsold the Australian distributor The Aristocrats, a documentary about comedy.
Icon chief executive Mark Goooder describes Matchpoint, starring Scarlet Johansson, as the hottest film onthe Croisette and Woody Allen's best and most commercial film in 10 years. Atleast five Australian buyers put in offers and sales agent Hanway went withhim.
His other purchase, from Focus Features, was Altered, directed by Eduardo Sanchez of Blair WitchProject fame. The horror film with an alientwist starts shooting in June and will release wide through Focus genre label,Rogue Pictures (Universal).
Gooder saw Cannes as generally soft with "a lot of notvery commercial foreign language product that will struggle to find support inthis territory."
ContentFilm sold Duncan Tucker's road movie Transamerica into Australia to Hopscotch. The film starsFelicity Huffman from Desperate Housewives as a pre-op transsexual, or as Hopscotch managing director Troy Lumsuccinctly puts it, "she is a woman playing a man playing a woman"'.
Celluloid Dreams provided Election, the Hong Kong godfather film in competition by theHong Kong godfather of filmmaking Johnny To. The Australians also picked updirector David LaChapelle's documentary Rize from Lions Gate, and the documentary-like TheCave Of The Yellow Dog from Telepool, thefollow up to The Weeping Camelfor Byambasuren Davaa. Rize isabout clowning and krumping, an emerging dance form in South Central LA.
Jump Street Films
The first ever acquisition from Australia's newestdistributor was The King, directed byJames Marsh. The ContentFilm title stars Gael Garcia Bernal as a handsome youngUS Marine who returns home to his preacher father's sleepy hometowndreaming of reconciliation but getting nothing of the sort.
Jump Street owner Jamie Bialkower, a former marketingexecutive at the flagship Europa Village Cinema in Melbourne, expects toacquire three or four films over the next year: "A lot of DVDdistributors are coming into the market but there is a big difference betweenDVD and theatrical marketing. Arthouse is also often relegated to newspapergiveaways and small scale marketing and I intend to explore big brandsponsorship and other event marketing principles."'
Palace added three titles to the batch of films it signedoff on about months ago - director Dominik Moll's black comedy Lemming from Celluloid Dreams and two titles from PyramideInternational, Benito Zambrano's Habana Blue and Karin Abou's Little Jerusalem. Company head Antonio Zeccola is negotiating on halfa dozen other titles.
Focus sold two films into Australia via Rialto, which boughtfour diverse films in all. Chief executive Kelly Rogers bought the noirthriller Brick, a "UsualSuspects meets Cruel Intentions"' directed by Rian Johnson, because it"reaches out to an audience looking for something explosive, fresh anddifferent."'
He was enamoured by the three French actresses in Hell, including Emmanuelle Beart, and the work ofOscar-winning director of No Man's Land, Danis Tanovic. It explores the concept of fidelitythrough three sisters and their relationships.
Lions Gate also sold to Rialto director Don Roos'modern tale of LA relationships, Happy Endings, and Korea Pictures clinched a sale on the big-budget sword-fightingepic Duelist.