Cannes 2021: What Has Sold So Far, From 'Flag Day' to 'Bergman Island' (Updating)

2022-06-09 06:58:48 By : Mr. George Chen

Hot packages like Zoe Kravitz’s directorial debut ”Pussy Island“ have also sold during the festival’s virtual film market

With Cannes pushed to July this year from its usual spot in May, many of the titles playing in competition at the festival already have North American distributors. And a bulk of the festival's marketplace already took place two weeks ago during the virtual film market. Cannes' opening night film "Annette," Leos Carax's latest starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, will debut later this year through Amazon. Searchlight Pictures will release Wes Anderson's "The French Dispatch" later this year as well. Apple has Todd Haynes' documentary "The Velvet Underground," and Focus Features has the the Matt Damon thriller "Stillwater." While the festival will still be a hot spot for deals and networking, we've already seen a steady number of sales from this year's market. Below, see some of the completed movies and the hot packages that have already found homes since the unveiling of the Cannes lineup.

"Benedetta" is an erotic drama directed by Paul Verhoeven about a young nun in 17th century Italy who carries on an affair with another nun, and it's inspired by a nonfiction book by historian Judith C. Brown. Virginia Efira and Charlotte Rampling star in the film that IFC Films picked up for North American release, while Mubi nabbed the UK and Ireland rights. In France, it will open in theaters the same day as its Cannes premiere on July 9.

Named for Fårö Island, on which Ingmar Bergman shot many of his classic films, "Bergman Island" is the English-language debut of French director Mia Hansen-Løve, which is playing in competition. The film stars Tim Roth, Vicky Krieps and Mia Wasikowska, and is a relationship drama about a pair of American filmmakers whose marriage slowly tears apart the longer they remain on the island, as their sense of reality and fiction begins to blur.

After first debuting at Cannes as a director 30 years ago, Sean Penn returned this year with "Flag Day," which MGM picked up for a release through United Artists later this year. The film stars Penn and his daughter, Dylan Penn, and is based on a memoir by Jennifer Vogel about her strained relationship with her father, a famed con man.

"High Fidelity" actress Zoë Kravitz is making her directorial debut with "Pussy Island," a genre thriller with satirical elements and social commentary about sexual politics in a post-MeToo era. The film was set up as a package at the Cannes virtual market with Channing Tatum set to star and produce. MGM then picked up the film's worldwide rights and set "Star Wars" actress Naomi Ackie to star. Filming hopes to begin next year.

Miramax acquired the rights to another package out of the festival, "The Holdovers," which is directed by Alexander Payne and reunites him with his "Sideways" star Paul Giamatti. "The Holdovers" will be Payne's first feature since 2017's "Downsizing." The film is a comedy set in 1970 about a curmudgeonly school teacher stuck on campus over the Christmas holiday. The studio also gave the movie the green light to begin filming in January.

Playing in the Un Certain Regard section, "Lamb" is an eerie, atmospheric folktale set in Iceland and starring Noomi Rapace. The film is the directorial debut feature of Valdimar Jóhannsson, and it sold North American rights to A24. The film has also been acquired in over 50 territories across Europe and abroad. A24 also has Kogonada's sophomore feature "After Yang," playing in the Un Certain Regard section.

After finding international box office success during the pandemic on the first "Greenland" film, STXfilms spent big in acquiring the rights to the sequel, "Migration," which reunites director Ric Roman Waugh with Gerard Butler and Morena Baccarin. The film is scheduled to shoot in 2022.

Florian Zeller's follow-up to "The Father" -- a drama called "The Son" that stars Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern and Vanessa Kirby -- was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics with an eye for the film to begin production in August. SPC picked up U.S. rights and some international territories.

Netflix acquired the worldwide rights (excluding France) to the action and crime thriller "The Stronghold" from director Cédric Jimenez. The movie is playing out of competition at Cannes and co-stars Adele Exarchopoulos. It's based on true events about a high-crime suburb in Marseille, and Netflix plans to release it this fall following a French theatrical rollout in August.

Netflix acquired the global rights to "CURS>R," a horror film starring Asa Butterfield about a broke college student who decides to play an obscure '80s computer game in an effort to make some money, only to be cursed by the game and locked into a series of horrific survival scenarios. The film is currently in post-production and is the directorial debut of Toby Meakins. Netflix picked up the rights to the film from producer and financier Anton and Stigma Films.

"Great Freedom," a film that played in the Un Certain Regard section at the festival, was acquired by MUBI for North American rights and other territories. The film is directed by Sebastian Meise and is about a man in post-war Germany who is repeatedly imprisoned because of his homosexuality and begins a friendship with a convicted murderer while in jail.

Vertical Entertainment acquired the North American rights to "The Hating Game" that was being shopped at Cannes. The film is a romantic comedy starring Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell and is based on a novel by Sally Thorne. Peter Hutchings directed the film, which is currently in post-production.

MUBI acquired the rights to "Lingui, The Sacred Bonds," the abortion drama from Chad that's playing in the main competition of the festival. The film from director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun will get a North American theatrical release from MUBI, as well as in the UK and Ireland, Latin America and Turkey.

Sony Pictures Classics acquired the North American rights to "Compartment No. 6," which is playing in the main competition at Cannes. The film is directed by Finnish filmmaker Juho Kuosmanen about a Finnish woman who flees a love affair in Moscow by boarding a train, only to share her tiny sleeping car with a Russian miner who forces her to consider major truths about human connection.

Magnolia acquired the U.S. rights to Critics' Week title "Anais in Love," a French comedy about a young woman who falls in love with the wife of the man with whom she's having an affair. The film is the directorial debut of Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet and stars Anaïs Demoustier, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Denis Podalydès, Jean-Charles Clichet, Xavier Guelf and Christophe Montenez.

"The Worst Person In The World"

Neon took the U.S. rights to what is the distributor's third film playing in the main competition, Joachim Trier's "The Worst Person In the World." The film is a Norwegian romantic comedy about a woman navigating love, work and life in Oslo. It stars Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie and Herbert Nordrum.

In a busy festival for MUBI, the UK streamer and distributor acquired the North American rights to the Russian drama "Unclenching The Fists" moments after it was announced the film had won the Un Certain Regard top prize. Kira Kovalenko writes and directs the film that's set in a small former mining town about a young woman trying to escape her stifling family.

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