French sales companies are offering some big names at Cannes this year.
Rezo Films will be on hand with official selection title Ulzhan from director Volker Schlondorff, making his return 28 years after winning the Palme d'Or with The Tin Drum, and returning master Alexander Sokurov's Competition title Alexandra. It will also be selling Lola Doillon's Just About Love' (Et Toi, T'Es Sur Quoi') in Un Certain Regard, from the producers behind Auberge Espagnole and Russian Dolls. Films Distribution has Hou Hsiao-hsien's Looking For The Red Balloon, the opening film of Un Certain Regard.
Wild Bunch is unveiling 10 minutes of Alain Corneau's Le Deuxieme Souffle, a remake of Jean-Pierre Melville's 1966 classic, starring Daniel Auteuil, Monica Bellucci, Michel Blanc and Eric Cantona.
Gaumont is handling UK director Sean Ellis' $7m psychological horror The Broken, starring Lena Headey. His first film Cashback was a big hit with worldwide buyers and Broken is likely to make its mark as well via a five-minute promo reel.
StudioCanal is working with arthouse favourite Amos Gitai on Disengagement, an emotional tale about a French woman's journey to find her estranged daughter in Israel, starring Juliette Binoche and Jeanne Moreau.
Making a long-awaited return is The Dreamlife Of Angels director Erick Zonca with Julia, an English-language thriller starring Tilda Swinton, Saul Rubinek and Aidan Gould.
Wide Management has just acquired Directors' Fortnight title Gegenueber from director Jan Bonny. The drama heralds Bonny's first move from TV and ads to features. Finally, Coach 14 will present a documentary about the US's involvement in Latin American coup d'etats over the past 50 years.
Focus Features International is bringing the Coen brothers' spy caper Burn After Reading starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney alongside Frances McDormand. The Weinstein Company arrives with Wayne Kramer's immigrant drama Crossing Over starring Harrison Ford, Sean Penn and Ray Liotta. Sales chief Glen Basner will also commence sales on another immigrant drama, the Sundance pick-up La Misma Luna starring Ugly Betty's America Ferrera.
2929 International is selling James Gray's Mafia drama We Own The Night, which stars Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg and plays in Competition.
Patrick Wachsberger's Summit International arrives with a diverse slate that includes Roman Polanski's upcoming epic Pompeii, fantasy adventure Nim's Island produced by Walden Media and starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin, and the Summit-Offspring Entertainment dance drama sequel Step Up 2.
New Line International is touting sci-fi romance The Time Traveler's Wife starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, as well as Gavin Hood's CIA thriller Rendition with Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal. Executives will also show buyers 10 minutes of The Golden Compass.
Lakeshore Entertainment's international sales team will start sales on Isabel Coixet's untitled adaptation of Philip Roth's novel Dying Animal, starring Penelope Cruz as a student who falls for her professor, played by Ben Kingsley, with devastating results.
Switzerland-based production and sales outfit Omega Entertainment is handling Baldwin Entertainment Group's slate, which boasts the romance 1:30 Train with Joel Schumacher set to direct, and comic-book adaptation Mandrake, to be directed by Chuck Russell.
GreeneStreet Films International has acquired the Plum Pictures project Laws Of Motion starring Hilary Swank, and Cecilia Miniucchi's Critics' Week closing night film Expired. Plum Pictures' Sylvia Plath adaptation The Bell Jar starring Julia Stiles will also be available, although no sales agent was attached at time of writing.
Intermedia Films' international sales company IM Global arrives on the Croisette with the $50m high-octane Jan de Bont thriller Stopping Power starring John Cusack - which will start shooting this summer in Berlin and will climax with a 51-minute real-time chase - and The Frog King, a co-production with GreeneStreet Films, set in the New York publishing world, scripted by Bret Easton Ellis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Bonne Pioche International will be selling Parvez Sharma's long-in-the-works Islam, My Love, the first known documentary exploring Islam and homosexuality.
CAA is representing the concert film U2 3D, which plays out of competition in Cannes. Bill Block's QED International is beginning sales on The Return, Neil Burger's follow-up to The Illusionist, about a trio of road-tripping Iraq war veterans starring Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams and Michael Pena. Lionsgate has US rights.
ThinkFilm's international sales division is touting the recently completed romantic comedy The Last Word featuring Winona Ryder and Wes Bentley, as well as the in-production grifter tale Five Dollars A Day starring Christopher Walken and directed by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls).
Peace Arch's new theatrical sales chief Julie Sultan will be tempting buyers with two new titles. Winged Creatures, a drama about the survivors of a restaurant shooting, wrapped last month and stars Forest Whitaker, Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce. Comedy The Deal stars Meg Ryan, William H Macy and Elliott Gould and is based on Peter Lefcourt's account of Hollywood life.
Voltage Pictures has the intricate crime thriller Tortured starring Laurence Fishburne, which sales chief Nicolas Chartier describes as The Departed meets The Usual Suspects. Production begins on May 14.
Yarek Danielak will commence sales on Tony Giglio's horror tale Timber Falls under his Arsenal Pictures banner. Arnold Rifkin produces with Lucky Number Slevin producer Christopher Eberts, on the story of a couple kidnapped by a cult and forced to conceive a child.
Edward Noeltner's Cinema Management Group, which handled animated hit Hoodwinked!, is launching sales on the $15m animated Inuit adventure Sarila. Element Films International has the romantic comedy Something Borrowed, with Anna Faris. Odd Lot International has Good, in which Viggo Mortensen plays a decent man caught up in the Nazis' rise to power.
Inferno Distribution will sell Swept Under, a true story produced by Steve Shor about a 10-year-old Pakistani boy freed from servitude by a US reporter.
Media 8 has horror project The Wizard Of Gore, with Kip Pardue as a writer on urban subcultures and Crispin Glover as a sinister magician.
H20 arrives with Feel from U2 music-video director Matt Mahurin, about men whose lives are transformed in a massage parlour. William Baldwin stars.
Among this year's hottest UK projects is Incendiary, from Bridget Jones's Diary director Sharon Maguire. Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor and Matthew Macfadyen star in the hard-hitting story of a young mother who has to rebuild her life after a terrorist bombing at a football stadium. Capitol Films is handling sales.
One of the other big projects to watch is the $50m UK-Spanish animation Planet One, HandMade's co-production with Spain's Ilion Animation Studios. Shrek co-writer Joe Stillman wrote the script, and video-game veteran Jorge Blanco will direct.
Ealing Studios International, the new sales arm of the venerable studio, will be arriving at Cannes for the first time to sell St Trinian's, an update of the 1950s film franchise about a girls' school. Co-directed and co-produced by Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson, the cast includes Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Stephen Fry and Lena Headey.
Also making its film-sales debut will be TV veterans Target Entertainment with Jan Dunn's Gypo follow-up Ruby Blue, a romantic drama starring Bob Hoskins and Josiane Balasko.
The first two projects from ambitious digital studio Slingshot will be introduced to buyers: Gary Love's urban drama Sugarhouse, starring Ashley Walters and Andy Serkis via Moviehouse, and Jackie Oudney's romantic comedy French Film with Hugh Bonneville and Anne-Marie Duff, via The Works International.
On the documentary front, hot titles include Oliver Hodge's Garbage Warrior, being sold by The Works, about an eco-friendly architect who takes on the US Senate, and Moviehouse has Taking Liberties, directed by Chris Atkins, about the erosion of civil liberties in the UK. Revolver already has UK rights to the anti-Blair film, and Kurt Engfehr of Fahrenheit 9/11 is one of the executive producers.
Among UK indie features, Lumina is handling sales on Warp X's first project, Donkey Punch, about a yachting trip that goes awry, starring Jaime Winstone. Visual Factory is selling Vampire Diary, set in the London goth scene, produced by Sid And Nancy's Margaret Matheson. And Moviehouse has psychological horror Credo, the directorial debut of Toni Harman.
Puppet sci-fi film Agent Crush, with a voice cast that includes Ioan Gruffudd and Neve Campbell, is being sold by Fantastic Films International with delivery set for September. ThinkFilm has taken on international sales for The Oxford Murders, a murder mystery in post-production starring John Hurt and Elijah Wood and directed by Alex de la Iglesia.
New sales company Velvet Octopus has two titles: one is a big-budget adaptation of David Copperfield with Rowan Atkinson attached, and the other is Bridge To Terabithia director Gabor Csupo's new project, The Moon Princess, which is set to shoot in Hungary and will star Colin Firth.
Beta Cinema will be selling Adnan G Kose's Ironman, a true story starring Max Riemelt as Andreas Niedrig who transformed from junkie to one of the world's most successful triathletes. Beta is also handling Oskar Roehler's Lulu And Jimi, a Romeo and Juliet tale set in 1950s Germany, starring Ray Fearon and Teresa Weissbach.
The Match Factory is handling Serbian director Stefan Arsenijevic's debut Love And Other Crimes about a woman (Anica Dobra) who must decide whether to turn her back on her homeland. Meanwhile, Doris Dorrie's Hanami is being sold by Bavaria Film International. The drama, about a widower travelling from Germany to Japan, stars Elmar Wepper, Hannelore Elsner and Maximilian Bruckner.
THE NORDIC REGION
Trust Film Sales handling Lars von Trier's horror film Antichrist, inspired by Korean and Japanese genre films. The shoot is planned for the end of this year. Trust is also selling comedy Just Like Home, by Italian For Beginners director Lone Scherfig.
Nordisk Film International is bringing family thriller The Substitute (Vikaren), starring Paprika Steen as a substitute teacher who may or may not be an alien. Director Ole Bornedal is also bringing a promo reel for his next feature, Just Another Love Story. Nordisk also has horror film Dark Floors from Eurovision song contest winners Lordi, which is set to start shooting this month for an early 2008 release.
Filmax is offering two new English-language thrillers at Cannes, both in development: The Blind Man Of Seville, based on the detective novel by Robert Wilson, and The Number Thirteen Lady, director Jaume Balaguero's supernatural sequel to Fragile.
New company Imagina International will show first footage from hot Chilean director Nicolas Lopez's $6.5m superhero spoof Santos, starring Spain's Elsa Pataky, Guillermo Toledo and Javier Gutierrez. Santos co-producer Buena Vista retains all Latin American distribution rights. Finally, 6 Sales is bringing Gospel Hill, the directorial debut of Giancarlo Esposito, which will begin filming in June. Fox has US rights.
Hungary has its first Palme d'Or contender in nearly 20 years with Bela Tarr's murder mystery The Man From London, being sold by Fortissimo. H20 Motion Pictures, meanwhile, has Janos Szasz's feature Opium, adapted from the diaries of Geza Csath. Hungarian and English-language versions are both available.
Russian films at this year's market include a mix of genre and arthouse fare. Central Partnership, Russia's largest independent distributor, is presenting sword-and-sorcery fantasy Wolfhound, which has grossed $20m in Russia and the CIS. Central Partnership is also unveiling the international release of Paragraph 78, a gritty sci-fi action film.
Rospo Film Group is presenting the 18th-century horror film Viy, an adaptation of the story by Nikolai Gogol. And Intercinema is handling sales of Andrei Zvyagintsev's Competition title The Banishment, as well as Pavel Lounguine's The Island, which premiered at Venice last year.
Italy's stand-out title at this year's market is Daniele Luchetti's political drama My Brother's An Only Child, presented in Un Certain Regard and being sold by ThinkFilm. Warner Bros and Cattleya are producing the project which is written by screenwriting duo Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli. It is about a love-hate relationship between two brothers in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Wild Bunch is selling Abel Ferrara's first comedy, Go Go Tales, about a nightclub owner who faces foreclosure. The Directors' Fortnight entry is produced by Massimo Gatti for Bellatrix Media and stars Matthew Modine, Willem Dafoe, Asia Argento and Bob Hoskins.
Adriana Chiesa Enterprises offers several market debuts including Riccardo Milani's Piano Solo (working title), about jazz musician Luca Flores who committed suicide aged 31. Chiesa is also beginning sales on Silvio Soldini's family drama Elsa (working title), and will offer two versions of Giovanni Pastrone's 1914 silent picture Cabiria presented by Martin Scorsese.
Intramovies is selling Davide Marengo's debut Night Bus (Notturno Bus), a comedy starring Giovanna Mezzogiorno. TF1 International is selling Francesca Archibugi's Flight Lessons, produced by Cattleya and also starring Mezzogiorno.
Japan had its most successful box office year in 2006, followed by high-profile sales to Hollywood of local titles such as Nightmare Detective (TWC) and Dororo (Universal). All eyes will be on the new Japanese projects in the market.
J-horror is still thriving. Toei has The Haunted Samurai, starring Satoshi Tsumabuki (Dororo), and teen thriller XX, directed by Kenta Fukasaku (Battle Royale II). Shochiku hopes to scare up sales with Densen-Uta, about a song that kills. Newly re-energised Nikkatsu is unleashing the action-horror Negative Happy, Chainsaw Edge, which features CG effects by the Death Note team.
On the fantasy and animation front, Shochiku is unveiling the $10m full-CG animation Vexille from Appleseed director Fumihiko Sori. It is also announcing Kitaro, a live-action version of the creature anime with special effects by Centro Digital Pictures.
For buyers looking for drama or romance, Toei is hoping to follow the success of Yamato with Second World War film For Those We Love, about kamikaze pilots. Kadokawa Pictures is premiering Switching, a coming-of-age tale from Nobuhiko Obayashi. TBS is selling youth drama The Bandage Club, starring Yuya Yagira, and will also show clips of Miike Takashi's latest film, manga adaptation Crows Zero.
Japanese actors are also attracting international interest. Nikkatsu is bringing Rinko Kikuchi's first film since her Oscar nomination for Babel, oddball comedy The Insects Unlisted In The Encyclopedia.
Hong Kong and China are bringing an array of big-budget period action films and contemporary crime thrillers to Cannes. While international rights to John Woo's $75m war epic Red Cliff lie with US-based Summit Entertainment, start-up Hong Kong sales agent ARM Distribution will be offering Peter Ho-sun Chan's $40m Qing Dynasty action drama The Warlords, starring Jet Li, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro, and Beijing-based Huayi Brothers is selling Feng Xiaogang's war drama The Assembly.
Contemporary action thrillers include Mandarin Films' $10m Flash Point, which reunites Dragon Tiger Gate director Wilson Yip and action choreographer Donnie Yen, and Universe Entertainment's $8m Invisible Target, starring Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue and Jaycee Chan.
Emperor Motion Pictures is selling Chinese auteur Jiang Wen's highly anticipated The Sun Also Rises, while Media Asia's slate includes new projects from directors including Dante Lam, Alan Mak and Yau Nai Hoi. Mei Ah Entertainment is bringing an expanded slate of productions from start-up producer/financer BIG Media Group, led by Jingle Ma's Butterfly Lovers, set to star Louis Koo and Shawn Yue.
Hong Kong-based sales agent Golden Network Asia is focusing on comedy drama Mid Road Gang, which recently topped the Thai box office in its opening week, and a slate of in-house productions from Japanese animation company Madhouse.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam and Hong Kong-based global sales agent Fortissimo Films has two titles in official selection - Bela Tarr's The Man From London and Ekachai Uekrongtham's Pleasure Factory - and will also be pre-selling Steve Jacobs' Disgrace, starring John Malkovich, Stephan Elliott's Black Oasis, starring Rose McGowan, and Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy among other projects.
The Media Development Authority is leading a delegation of about nine Singapore companies, including MediaCorp Raintree Pictures which will commence sales on Royston Tan's 881 with a teaser trailer. The musical, in post-production, promises glitzy costumes and lavish choreography.
Several start-ups offer various projects in development. Pilgrim Pictures will promote comedy Top Score and psychological thriller Starring; Monsoon Pictures has From Beirut To Jerusalem set in 1980s war-torn Lebanon; and Ad Infinitum Films has More Than Words about a gangster who falls for a student.
Jose Maria Morales' Wanda Vision is selling veteran director Fernando Solanas' Argentina Latente, a personal essay on the country's social and economic crisis. A co-production by Argentina's Cinesur, Spain's TVE and Wanda Vision and France's Les Films du Sud and Cine Manufacture, it is due for release in Argentina next month.
More than 30 Brazilian film companies will be at the market this year. Drama Filmes' highlight is Stray Dog, the new title from director Beto Brant (The Trespasser) about a man facing an existential crisis. Dezenove Som e Imagens is selling veteran film-maker Carlos Reichenbach's Falsa Loura, about young female textile workers trying to cope in a violent, chauvinistic environment.
Nexus Cinema e Video is handling Budapest, an adaptation of the book by Chico Buarque, one of the key figures in Brazilian music. In pre-production, it is due to be filmed later this year and will be directed by one of the most acclaimed Brazilian cinematographers, Walter Carvalho (Central Station).
Imcine is showcasing young talent at this year's market, including Aaron Fernandez's debut film Used Parts (Partes Usadas) about a young man who turns to crime to pay a smuggler who will take him to the US, and Ernesto Contreras' debut film Blue Eyelids (Parpados Azules), a dark comedy that follows the romance of two lonely strangers, which took top prizes at Guadalajara.
Other titles include Ivan Humberto Avila Duenas' fantasy film Enlightened Blood (La Sangre Iluminada), Juan Patricio Riveroll's Opera and three documentaries: Memory Labyrinths (Los Laberintos De La Memoria) from director Guita Schyfter, Everardo Gonzalez Reyes' Artegio's Legends, and Bajo Juarez, The City Devouring Its Daughters (Bajo Juarez, La Ciudad Devorando A Sus Hijas), a shocking documentary from Alejandra Sanchez and Jose Antonio Cordero about crimes against women along the US-Mexico border.
Aside from Imcine projects, the only other films are co-productions represented by Spain's Filmax. These include Rigoberto Castaneda's Mexican horror Km 31, produced by Lemon Films and distributed in Mexico by Videocine and Altavista in most of the remaining territories, and another Lemon Films production, Sultans Of The South (Sultanes Del Sur) directed by Alejandro Lozano, and in post-production.
Also being sold by Filmax is thriller Violanchelo, the first project from Los Angeles-based producer Nick Spicer and Mexican director Alfonso Pineda-Ullo, which is set to shoot in Mexico City from June.
India will have a large contingent of sales companies at Cannes this year, including regulars UTV Motion Pictures, iDream Independent Pictures and WEG India, as well as some of those newer to the Croisette including Adlabs Films and Studio 18. For full details on who is selling what see the India feature on page 27.
CJ Entertainment is selling Lee Chang-dong's Competition film Secret Sunshine, and in pre-production has colonial period piece Modern Boy by Jung Ji-woo starring Park Hae-il and Kim Hye-soo. MK Pictures has Once Upon A Time In Seoul about two boys' struggles in a post-Korean War refugee camp, with martial arts choreography by Shin Jae-myung (A Dirty Carnival). Cineclick has Kim Hee-jung's feature debut The Wonder Years, starring Lee Se-young as a young girl convinced a pop star must be her real mother.
Meanwhile, Mirovision is premiering the Vietnam-set thriller Muoi and iHQ has love story For Eternal Hearts, set in the turbulent 1970s, starring Choung Kyung-ho and Kim Min-sun.
Films in production include Pablo Trapero's Misencounter, a drama being sold by Cineclick about a college girl who accidentally kills her lover, and Studio 2.0's horror thriller Epitaph set in a 1940s hospital, co-directed by Jung Sik and Jung Bum-Sik.
In pre-production, Prime Entertainment has crime thriller Seven Days starring Yunjin Kim from US TV series Lost.
Sahamongkolfilm International is presenting the first promo of two highly anticipated films: kickboxing film Ong Bak 2, the directorial debut of actor Tony Jaa; and Nonzee Nimibutr's Queens Of Langkasuka, a big-budget, effects-laden epic starring Ananda Everingham.
GMM Tai Hub will be screening Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom's Alone. The eagerly awaited horror, which opened solidly in March, has been widely sold to more than 10 territories. The company is also bringing Khomkrit Treewimol's Bedside Detective, in post-production, about a trainee private eye. Five Star will screen the first footage of Kongkait Komesiri's action drama Muay Thai Chaiya, which is in post-production, while Fortissimo Films is handling Pen-ek Ratanaruang's new erotic drama Ploy, due to open in June.
TV production company MD Pictures will make its first foray into features with three projects. Kala, which opened locally to strong reviews in April, is a film noir by writer-director Joko Anwar, whose directorial debut Janji Joni was a local box-office hit. The other two projects are Ari Azis' The Nurse and Hanung Bramantyo's Signs Of Love, both scheduled for release later this year.
Profiles by Jeremy Kay, Wendy Mitchell, Nancy Tartaglione-Vialatte, Dale Fuchs, Sheri Jennings, Martin Blaney, Theodore Schwinke, Jacob Wendt Jensen, Kirill Galetski, Diego Batlle, Elaine Guerini, Chiara Arroyo, Jason Gray, Liz Shackleton, Silvia Wong and Jean Noh.