MK2: Defending human cinema
by Fabien Lemercier
We meet the head of acquisitions at French company MK2 who hold the French distribution rights and international sales rights to Garage.
When did you discover Garage?
We were following the work of Lenny Abrahamson, as his first film Adam & Paul had attracted our attention and we knew that Garage was ready. In March, I asked the production company Element Pictures if it would be possible to view the film before perhaps making them an offer regarding French distribution rights and international sales. At the same time, we found out that the film had been selected for screening in the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes, an important showcase for promotion and exhibition; and this also helped us to make a swift decision.
What other factors motivated your decision?
There are very few Irish films on offer, but they set themselves apart from UK cinema and are enjoying a considerable revival with Garage and Once, a trend aided by the policy favourable to national directors implemented by the Irish Film Board. Garage is very touching and human; it tells the kind of story that we rarely see at the cinema these days. I believed that the film could be of interest to at least one distributor in every country, distributors who felt the need to support this type of cinema that is close to the people, socially oriented but without too many complications. And the film’s strong direction and cast could not fail to impress. We feel it is our responsibility at MK2 to defend this type of cinema in a climate where we are being turned into warriors, winners and competitors capable of destroying all those who get in our way.
What impact did the film have on buyers?
All the distributors saw the film when it was screened at Cannes. They were unanimous about the high quality of the film but questions were raised as to its potential audience. So we set out to persuade them. As it stands, the film has been sold to fifteen or so territories and at all the festivals where Garage is screened, it wins an award. But we want the film to be more than a festival attraction and MK2 are now going to distribute it in France. Nothing is won yet, but one thing is for certain: all the viewers who have already seen the film are very moved by it.