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CANNES 2009 Market

Wrap-up: Less quantity, more quality meetings

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Wrap-up: Less quantity, more quality meetings

A thinned-out Cannes Market gave way this year to less quantity but more quality meetings. Key buyers were all out en force, although with smaller teams, and fewer deals were finalised during the market, a trend attached as much to the changing nature of the global film business as to the financial crisis.

Cannes business was first hurt by the tightening of belts from all sides of the film industry. Accommodation could still be booked last minute, with attractive price cuts, restaurants were not full and invitation lists to parties were halved. After a slow AFM and a depressed Berlin, sellers were hoping for a slight recovery in Cannes, and the market did turn out to be more positive than expected. Some industry professionals even praised the crisis for having eliminated the “time-wasters” and put price tags on more realistic levels.

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The high level of the competition titles kept spirits up for buyers, sellers and media people alike throughout the Cannes Film festival. The hottest competition title, Jacques Audiard’s gripping prison drama A Prophet [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jacques Audiard
interview: Jacques Audiard and Tahar R…
film profile
]
, was sold by Celluloid Dreams to the US/Australia (Sony Pictures Classics), Spain (Alta Films) and the UK (Optimum Releasing).

Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andrea Arnold
film profile
]
was sold by Pathé to Alta Films (Spain) and MK2 (France), Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Cannes 2009
Ken Loach

interview: Steve Evets - actor
film profile
]
was acquired by IFC (US), who picked up Lars von Trier’s Antichrist [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Lars von Trier
film profile
]
as well. TrustNordisk also sold the most controversial title of the competition to Artificial Eye (UK), along with other titles (see news).

Isabel Coixet’s late competition screener Map of the Sounds of Tokyo [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
was sold by Imagina to local Spanish distributor Alta Films. On The Coproduction Office line-up, the animated Belgian film A Town Called Panic [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stéphane Aubier and Vincen…
interview: Stéphane Aubier & Vincent P…
film profile
]
, shown as a midnight screening, sold to half a dozen territories, including the UK (Optimum), Switzerland (Frenetic), and Greece (La Strada).

Among the sidebar titles, Wild Bunch sold Critics’ Week title Hierro [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Gabe Ibáñez
film profile
]
by Spanish director Gabe Ibanez to the UK (Optimum). The Match Factory’s Directors' Fortnight entry Anami by Israeli and Palestinian duo filmmakers Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani sold to Ad Vitam (France) and Vertigo (UK).

The Munich-based company also pre-sold Sherry Hormann’s Desert Flower to Greece (Filmtrade), Switzerland (Impulse Pictures) and Canada (Seville Pictures) based on a promo-reel. The film stars Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) and Craig Parkinson (Control [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
).

At the Market, buyers were as cautious as possible, acquiring almost reluctantly to fill their pipelines, Latido sales executive Massimo Saidel stressed. “Buyers try to find all types of excuses not to buy,” he said. Indeed, sales announcements only started to appear in the trade press two-three days prior to market close-down on Thursday, once again mirroring the state of the heavily-oriented buyers market.

Among the market deals reported to the trade press and Cineuropa, IFC also acquired François Ozon’s Ricky [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
from StudioCanal, and Sony Pictures Classics bought the closing title of the Cannes official selection, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. For their part, Svensk Filmindustri reported good sales on several titles (see news).

Michael Werner, managing director for Stockholm-based NonStop Sales, announced a rare pre-sale to Korea (Rich Entertainment) of Norwegian family film Magic Silver (Julenatt i Blåfjell). The English-language film Leningrad, starring Mira Sorvino, was sold to China and Indian film The Forest to Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and the Middle East. The Norwegian film The Storm in My Heart received offers by several territories and was selected for the competition programme of the Shanghai Film Festival in June.

StudioCanal sold the widely publicised animation film Around the World in 50 Days to Scandinavia (SF) and Turkey. London sales company The Works sold the Sundance documentary hit The Cove to France (Europa Corp). Lastly, Paris-based Wide Management Enterprise sold Finland’s Tears of April to Japan and La Vida Loca to German-speaking territories (Ascote Elite).

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