Sony Pictures Classics acquired North American rights to Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, the vampire pic that premieres tomorrow at Cannes in the In Competition section. The film was produced by Jeremy Thomas of Recorded Picture Company and Reinhard Brundig of Pandora Film. Christos Konstantakopoulos of Fairilo House served as executive producer. Starring Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin and Jeffrey Wright, Only Lovers Left Alive takes place against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier and follows an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, who reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister. “It would take a stake through the heart to keep Barker, Bernard and Leiner away from a good movie,” stated Producer JeremyThomas. Thorsten Schumacher and Jan Spielhoff for HanWay Films and ICM negotiated the deal.
The Directors’ Fortnight sidebar has its closing ceremony tonight with Yolande Moreau’s Henri screening after the prize ceremony. The section is actually non-competitive, but certain partners of the Société des Réalisateurs Français, the French directors’ body that organizes the event, attribute awards. Frenchman Guillaume Gallienne won two prizes tonight for Les Garçons Et Guillaume, A Table!, while Brit helmer Clio Barnard took the Europa Cinema Label honor for The Selfish Giant. Her film was recently acquired by Sundance Selects. Last year’s winners included Pablo Larrain’s No, which went on to be nominated for a foreign language Oscar, and Noémie Lvovsky’s Camille Redouble which later scored 13 nominations at France’s César Awards. Here’s the group that took prizes for the 2013 edition of the Fortnight:
As things wind down here on the Croisette, prizes are starting to roll out across the various sections. Last night was Critics’ Week and later today we’ll have the Directors’ Fortnight winners. The Cinéfondation jury, led by president Jane Campion, has just released its top picks for this year. The selection is made up of 18 student films with the winners taking €15,000 for first prize, €11,250 for second and €7,500 for third. The director of first prize winner, in this case Art Institute of Chicago student Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, is also guaranteed their first feature will be presented in Cannes. Her winning short film Needle is about a girl who goes to have her ears pierced, provoking a quarrel between her parents that overwhelms the situation. Click over for the full list of winners:
Listen to (and share) episode 27, a special Cannes Film Festival edition of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and other notable films screened in competition so far at Cannes; the legacy of Liz Taylor and a restored Cleopatra; and whether Oscar season should just officially start with the festival, given its recent success in spotlighting awards-worthy films.
Cannes: EOne Announces Itself As Player In U.S. Distribution By Acquiring Naomi Watts-Starrer ‘Diana’
EXCLUSIVE: Entertainment One has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Diana, the Oliver Hirschbiegel-directed drama about a secret love affair that Princess Diana had shortly before her tragic death. With Naomi Watts as the princess, this was one of the higher-profile pictures shopped at the Cannes Film Festival and eOne bought the rights from Embankment Films and Ecosse Films. eOne will also distribute with major releases in the UK, Canada and Spain with the U.S. film coming in Oscar season later this year.
Hirschbiegel helmed the Oscar-nominated Downfall, and screenwriter Stephen Jeffreys wrote The Libertine. Watts, coming off an Oscar nom for The Impossible, stars with Naveen Andrews (best known for ABC’s Lost and The English Patient) in this drama about Diana’s covert love affair with Dr. Hasnat Khan, a Pakistani heart surgeon. This happened in the last two years of her life, before she met Dodi Fayed, and the need for privacy led to her meeting her lover in disguises. This gave her a sense of living an anonymous life, but her incredible worldwide fame became an issue. The film is produced by Ecosse Films’ Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae.
This turned out to be the first big bidding battle of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which is now winding down. The Weinstein Company won out after sparking to the seven-minute teaser reel shown to buyers during the fest, outbidding others including Focus Features. Now it will join the distributor’s already bursting awards-season slate that includes Sundance winner Fruitvale Station, August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, Long Walk To Freedom with Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela, the Lee Daniels-directed The Butler, Grace Of Monaco with Nicole Kidman, and the Shane Salerno-directed documentary Salinger. Here’s the official release:
CANNES (May 23, 2013) – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today from the 2013 Cannes Film Festival that they are acquiring distribution rights in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Spain to director Stephen Frears’ (HIGH FIDELITY, THE QUEEN) dramedy PHILOMENA. Seven minutes of the film were shown to buyers in Cannes on May 16th, with TWC outbidding a number of other studios vying for rights. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope penned the screenplay, which is based on the 2009 novel The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith. The project stars Judi Dench (NOTES ON A SCANDAL, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL) and Coogan (THE TRIP, WHAT MAISIE KNEW) and was produced by Coogan, Tracey Seaward and Gabrielle Tana. Baby Cow’s Henry Normal, BBC Films’ Christine Langan, Pathé’s Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken and Magnolia Mae Films’ Carolyn Marks Blackwood executive produced.
Alexander Payne says he only finished postproduction last Friday on his Cannes competition entry Nebraska, which had its press screening this morning and will premiere tonight. Reviews coming in so far are largely mixed to very good. Even though Paramount won’t release it until November 22, Payne likes to take awhile in post to get everything right. There was initial concern about even making the Cannes date, so that is why until just a week before this year’s official lineup was announced did Paramount and Payne even decide to take a shot. He brought the film to Paris, showed it to Thierry Fremaux with only two days to spare, and landed tonight’s slot. Payne is becoming somewhat of a Cannes regular — although other than 2002′s About Schmidt, this is only his second film in competition. He has served on the juries of both Un Certain Regard and, last year, the main selection.
Nebraska, which will be one of Paramount’s Oscar hopes this year, played well to nice but brief applause from the press at the screening and at the press conference that followed (especially when stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte were introduced). It’s pure Payne in its humanist, gently funny style and captures that Middle America folksy style in beautiful black and white, but it is definitely what I would call a small film that will need tender loving care from the studio (the only major studio film in competition).
With the market officially wrapped, the deal pace has slowed to a crawl and the focus turns back to the movies. That’s after a week of international sales on some key titles and a few high-profile domestic deals in an environment that nevertheless was marked by caution. Oftentimes as Cannes is about to start, there are splashy announcements of domestic pick-ups on fest-related movies and that helps set the pace. In 2011, The Weinstein Co. acquired The Artist before the curtain lifted. Last year, it grabbed The Sapphires and Sony Pictures Classics bought Susanne Bier’s Love Is All You Need on Day One. This year, there were no eve-of-the-fest acquisitions on titles that are in official selection (although Warner Bros. moved in on Ryan Gosling’s How To Catch A Monster which is currently shooting and Lionsgate arrived in town having taken the upcoming The Quiet Ones). Ultimately, U.S. buyers that I spoke with ahead of the fest said they would be opportunistic, but cautious. “Everyone goes in very carefully,” Sony Classics’ Tom Bernard told me. “There’s a lot of pushback in the ancillary areas so when you’re spending money, you have to spend it wisely.”
Foreign sellers say there’s a shift in the balance of key territories. China, Russia, Brazil, the Middle East and even India – which has such a massive local box office – are becoming “significant pieces of the puzzle.” Spain and Italy remain the places that make sellers misty given the economic crises there. Rai, however, did pick up The Gunman starring Sean Penn in what was a notable buy for the company. That movie virtually sold out for Studiocanal.
Robert Redford may not be eligible for any awards at Cannes this year where his new film, All Is Lost premiered to strong response out of competition on Wednesday night, but if the reaction on the Croisette was any indication, he could be headed for the Oscars. The film, in which Redford is the only actor playing a man stranded at sea when his sailboat springs a huge leak, is a tour de force for the star and it won a 9-minute standing ovation at its debut tonight. Even the return of the rain that has plagued this festival could not put a damper on the mood of the filmmakers, Universal International (releasing overseas) and Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions (releasing domestically on October 18th). It is clearly an awards season play, not only for Redford in a role unlike any he has played but also Oscar nominated writer/director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) who proves his first film was no fluke and shows a remarkable ability to pull off this one-man show with real filmmaking skill.