French sales companies dominate EFM
by Fabien Lemercier
15/02/2008 - As the European Film Market at the Berlinale draws to a close, we take stock of the many announcements made by French international sales companies ahead of their return to Paris when more detailed analyses will be made.
Enjoying success with its extensive line-up (see news and news), Wild Bunch was once again the centre of attention, thanks in particular to one of the three titles that attracted the highest bids at Berlin: Steven Soderbergh ‘s diptych on Che Guevara (The Argentine and Guerilla), starring Benicio del Toro, Franka Potente and Julia Ormond.
Moreover, in the professional press, Vincent Maraval heavily criticised the Berlinale, saying that it "operates like a festival would have done fifteen years ago" in that its film selectors "haven’t a clue what is going on (…) and end up choosing films by old filmmakers".
The spotlight was also on Films Distribution (see news) which secured over €15m in pre-sales for the film project Coco avant Chanel (“Coco Before Chanel”) by Anne Fontaine (see news), set to star Audrey Tautou. They also enjoyed enormous success with Eran Riklis’ Lemon Tree [trailer] (co-produced by French company Mact and screened in the Panorama section).
Celluloid Dreams were not outdone, clinching deals with Dennis Gansel’ The Wave [trailer], which added Scandinavia (Atlantic), France (Bac Films), Greece (7 Group), Benelux (Paradiso) and Japan to its list of successes (news).
The company headed by Hengameh Panahi also secured pre-sales for Le silence de Lorna (“Lorna’s Silence”) by the Dardenne brothers (see news), selling it to new distribution company New Wave for the UK.
Three films set to be shot this year were added to their line-up: Vincere (“To Win”) by Italian director Marco Bellochio; The Countess directed by and starring Julie Delpy with a cast that also includes Daniel Brühl and William Hurt (co-produced by Celluloid Dreams, German company X-Filme and Romanian company Saga Film); and Margarethe von Trotta’s Vision, starring Barbara Sukowa.
Pyramide successfully launched pre-sales for Nuri Bige Ceylan’s Daydreams (which will be unveiled at Cannes) and added to its slate Bruno Dumont’s Hadewijch (see news) which has its sights set on Cannes 2009.
Potential Cannes contenders also brought success for StudioCanal with Agnès Jaoui’s Let It Rain (see news) and for TF1 International with Bertrand Tavernier’s In the Electric Mist. The latter also struck successful deals with Jean-Paul Salomé’s Female Agents (see news).
Rezo Films (see interview) attracted particular attention with Sundance festival winner Frozen River, while Roissy Films successfully launched sales for Martin Provost’s Séraphine [trailer] (see news).
(Translated from French)