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INDUSTRY / MARKET France

French sales agents at the AFM are already whipping out announcements

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- Wild Bunch, Gaumont, Pathé, StudioCanal and Charades declare their trumps at the online official market and at the parallel event initiated by US talent agencies

French sales agents at the AFM are already whipping out announcements
Director Isaki Lacuesta, actor Nahuel Pérez Biscayart and actress Noémie Merlant

Exceptionally unspooling online between 9 and 13 November, as a result of the health crisis, the American Film Market has seen nine French international sales agents officially leap into action: Gaumont, mk2 Films, TF1 Studio, WTFilms, Pulsar Content, Other Angle Pictures, Wide, SND and StudioCanal. The latter is also one of thirty or so vendors, which include the likes of Wild Bunch International (WBI), Pathé International and Charades, who are participating in another online market, organised in parallel by American talent agencies. And this strong French presence has already been marked by numerous announcements regarding new titles joining vendor line-ups.

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For starters, Wild Bunch International (WBI) is launching presales on Earwig by France’s Lucile Hadzihalilovic (read our article – a work on which filming has just kicked off in Belgium, with Brits Paul Hilton, Alex Lawther and Romola Garai gracing the cast) and on the upcoming feature film by Australia’s Justin Kurzel, which is yet to be named and is currently in pre-production. Another title arriving in the WBI line-up is One Second by China’s Zhang Yimou, which missed out at the last minute (for some unknown reason) on a screening within Berlin’s 2019 competition, but which certain members of the jury, who’d secretly had the opportunity to see it, considered "off the record" to be one of the best films in the offing. For the record, stand-out films already announced by WBI include The Long Night by Denmark’s Ali Abbasi (the winner of the Un Certain Regard Award in Cannes 2018 for Border [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ali Abbasi
film profile
]
), on which filming should begin in January, Rebel by Belgium’s Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (in pre-production and also on CAA’s books for North American rights) and The Stars At Noon by French director Claire Denis (on which shooting is due in the spring, with Robert Pattinson and Margaret Qualley in lead roles – read our news).

Meanwhile, Pathé International is welcoming British production The Lost King into its line-up, a work which English filmmaker Stephen Frears will shoot in the spring, with Steve Coogan (who wrote the script with Jeff Pope) stepping into the shoes of the husband of Philippa Langley, a historian who played a considerable part in the discovery, in 2012, of the remains of King Richard III under a car park in Leicester. The discovery marked the culmination of years of obsessive research carried out by the historian, who had had to contend with her friends’ incomprehension, not to mention the disdain of official experts, and whose involvement in the matter has gone largely unrecognised.

For its part, the Gaumont sales team is primarily banking on Fantasies by David and Stéphane Foenkinos, whose filming wrapped on 9 October. The two brothers’ third feature film after Delicacy [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(773,000 admissions in France in 2011) and Jalouse [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(765,000 viewers in 2017) combines the acting prowess of Karin Viard, Jean-Paul Rouve, Ramzy Bedia, Joséphine Japy, Suzanne Clément, Denis Podalydès, William Lebghil, Joséphine de Meaux, Nicolas Bedos, Céline Salette, Alice Taglioni, Corentin Fila, Carole Bouquet and Monica Bellucci. Penned by the two directors off the back of an idea by Sean Hogan, the screenplay is composed of sketches exploring the private lives and fantasies of six couples (abstinence-based role plays, encompassing exhibitionism and even sorophilia, i.e. feeling attracted to the sister of one’s wife). Produced by Éric and Nicolas Altmayer for Mandarin Production and co-produced by France 2 Cinéma, Fantasies boasts Alexis Kavyrchine at the helm of the film’s photography.

StudioCanal is kicking off presales on A Twelve-Year Night by Spain’s Isaki Lacuesta (who triumphed in San Sebastian in 2011 and 2018 with The Double Steps [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Between Two Waters [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Isaki Lacuesta
film profile
]
), which will take us (based on a script penned by the director alongside Fran Araújo and Isa Campo) to the heart of the Bataclan terrorist attack in Paris, 2015, with Argentina’s Nahuel Pérez Biscayart (2018’s Best New Hope César for BPM (Beats Per Minute) [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Arnaud Valois
interview: Robin Campillo
film profile
]
) and France’s Noémie Merlant (nominated for the Best Actress César in 2020 for Portrait of a Lady on Fire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile
]
) occupying lead roles. Shooting will unfold next year, with production in the hands of Spanish firms Bambú Producciones, Mister Fields and Friends, and La Termita, alongside French outfit Noodles Production.

Last but not least, Charades has welcomed into its line-up the animated film Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds, an adaptation of the adventures of the famous characters imagined by Alexandre Dumas. Produced by Spanish group Apolo Films alongside Cosmo Maya (Singapore/India), the movie is a reboot of the successful Japanese cartoon series broadcast at the beginning of the 1980s.

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(Translated from French)

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