"Born out of necessity" is how producer Els Vandevorst describes the expansion of her production company Isabella Films into theatrical distribution.
Dutch feature Het Zuiden (South) is the second film Isabella has released theatrically this year following Thomas Vinterberg's It's All About Love. Vandevorst served as one of the producers on both titles.
"We had a different distribution deal for both films," explains Vandevorst. "However RCV pulled out of It's All About Love and Upstream Pictures, which was handling Het Zuiden, went bankrupt. We decided to start distribution with the former director of Upstream, Peter van Vogelpoel."
The results from the Vinterberg title gave Vandevorst enough confidence to continue. "We aim at releasing eight to ten titles a year. Our goal is mainly European arthouse-films." Two releases already definite for this year are Pleasant Days (by Kornel Mundruczo) and Vodka Lemon (by Hiner Saleem).
However, Vandevorst is not planning to release all the titles she produces through Isabella Films Distribution. She is a co-producer on Lars von Trier's trilogy that started with Dogville, the second installment, Manderlay, will be handled by A-Film, the Netherlands' biggest independent distributor. "Our new company is too small to handle a big title like this," claims Vandevorst.
Het Zuiden will be presented during Cannes by international sales agent is F for Film. It is released on Thursday April 22 in the Netherlands on eight prints.