Wild Bunch, the increasingly independent auteur label within France's StudioCanal, has picked up sales duties on Abel Ferrara's newest picture R-Xmas and grabbed the directorial return of Jean-Francois Stevenin.
R-Xmas had previously been represented by StudioCanal's main sales outfit Le Studio Canal Plus. But Wild Bunch chief Vincent Maraval had been associated with the drama from its early days and fought to gain representation when he formed the new label.
Delays in the film's production meant that although Le Studio had taken R-Xmas to markets including last year's Mifed and this year's AFM, it was not actively selling it at Cannes. The $3m film is now completed and was delivered last month. The tale of a Dominican drug-dealing couple whose child is kidnapped on Christmas Eve, R-Xmas stars Drea de Matteo and Lillo Brancato (The Sopranos) and rapper Ice-T. It was written by Ferrara and Scott Pardo and is produced by Pierre Kalfon, who co-produced Ferrara's previous picture The Blackout.
The support of Wild Bunch and Le Studio underlines continuing interest in Ferrara among European specialist audiences despite a series of weak results with New Rose Hotel and Blackout.
Wild Bunch has also boarded Stevenin's Mischka, an off-centre road movie set in the Bordeaux region. The film, which stars Yves Alfonso, Jean-Paul Bonnaire and Stevenin himself, completed principal photography last month.