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Cannes: DSK Lawyer Says Suit Brewing Over Ferrara’s ‘Welcome To New York’; Ex-Wife Calls Pic “Anti-Semitic”

welcome to new yorkWhen Abel Ferrara‘s Welcome To New York screened in Cannes on Saturday night, Wild Bunch‘s Vincent Maraval was asked about potential lawsuits given the film’s source of inspiration. He responded that the movie was made under American law and had been well vetted by attorneys. But, he tossed out, if anyone wants to “make us publicity, they are welcome.” Looks like he’s getting his way as a lawsuit brews and accusations of anti-Semitism surface.

Related: Cannes: Abel Ferrara’s Sex Scandal Pic ‘Welcome To New York’ Penetrates La Plage

Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)Welcome To New York is inspired by the 2011 sex scandal surrounding former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Gérard Depardieu, in various instances of near-pornographic debauchery, stars as Mr Devereaux, a high-ranking French government offical who is detained in New York after he sexually assaults a hotel maid. Jacqueline Bisset plays his wife Simone, an heiress to a fortune amassed during World War II and a financial supporter of Israel. On France’s Europe 1 radio this morning, Strauss-Kahn’s attorney Jean Veil said his client has instructed his lawyers “to file a suit for defamation owing to the accusations of rape and insinuations which run throughout the film.” Veil said a suit would be filed within a few days, but that Strauss-Kahn had not, and will not, see the movie based on the recommendations of friends that he “protect himself.” He added that he agreed with Strauss-Kahn’s ex-wife Anne Sinclair who on Sunday called the film “anti-Semitic.” Read More »

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Cannes: Abel Ferrara’s Sex Scandal Pic ‘Welcome To New York’ Penetrates La Plage

welcome-to-new-yorkAbel Ferrara and screenwriter Chris Zois’ Welcome To New York, inspired by the 2011 sex scandal surrounding former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, had its world premiere here in Cannes tonight. Once thought to be a candidate for an Official Selection berth, it instead unspooled in an unofficial capacity inside a tent erected at Nikki Beach (see NSFW trailer below). Stars Gérard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset were on hand for a post-screening press conference about the film that has made headlines ever since it was first floated as a project — and more so now due to an unconventional release plan. Depardieu plays Mr Devereaux, a man who handles billions of dollars a day, controls the economic fate of nations, and dreamed of saving the world but cannot save himself. Bisset plays his wife, Simone. The characters are inspired by Strauss-Kahn and Anne Sinclair. The former was famously alleged in May 2011 to have sexually assaulted a New York hotel employee, but charges were ultimately dropped. Sinclair is a French journalist and heiress from whom the former IMF chief is now divorced.

Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)Although the film comes with a disclaimer at the beginning, there are clear parallels between Devereaux and Strauss-Kahn. Asked if they were concerned about lawsuits, Vincent Maraval, co-founder of production, finance and sales company Wild Bunch, said the movie was made under American law and had been well vetted by attorneys. But, he tossed out, if anyone wants to “make us publicity, they are welcome”. The movie begins with some pretty debauched sex scenes that show Devereaux partying with a coterie of men and women in a hotel suite — they are not for the faint of heart. Depardieu called the subject matter reminiscent of Shakespearian tragedy. He said he was shocked when he saw the film because some of the sex was very violent, but he tried not to pin the characters to “right or wrong.” Devereaux’s character “knows he is sick. … I didn’t want to ask too many questions.” Ferrara also said he was “not making a judgment” with the film. When he showed it to Bernardo Bertolucci recently, the veteran Italian helmer remarked it reminded him of a Warhol film. “It is what it is,” Ferrara said. For those who might consider some of the footage borderline porn, Depardieu cautioned to laughter: “It’s not porno at all. To be porno, you have to see the big dick.” Spoiler alert: There is a scene in which Depardieu’s private parts are exposed, but it’s during a strip search inside a stark prison, so not exactly sexy. Read More »

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Cannes Briefs: The Exchange Selling ‘The Tank’; EOne Lands Bryan Cranston-Starrer ‘Trumbo’; Double Dutch Running ’4 Minute Mile’; ‘Welcome To New York’ To Screen On Fest Fringes; More

Cannes2014_badgeThe Exchange has picked up international rights to sell The Tank, a Glacier Films horror pic from producer Steven Schneider (the Paranormal Activity and Insidious films). Written and directed by Kellie Madison in her feature directorial debut, the film is about six test subjects placed in an isolation chamber to simulate an extended space mission to Mars. The Exchange will shop The Tank in Cannes this month. Open Road has U.S. rights.

Entertainment One has secured international rights to Trumbo, the story of legendary blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo who is being played by Bryan Cranston. Helen Mirren co-stasr as his nemesis Hedda Hopper in the pic, to be directed by Jay Roach from John McNamara’s script. trumboAdditional casting is expected soon on the pic, from Michael London’s Groundswell Productions. It begins shooting September 15 in the U.S. EOne Films International will handle sales in all territories outside of the UK, Canada and Australia/New Zealand, where the company has prebought rights ahead of the Cannes Film Festival and plans to distribute directly. EOne made the deal in association with Shivani Rawat and Nimitt Mankad, through Shiv Hans Pictures. EOne’s Benedict Carver brought in the project, and EVP Filmed Entertainment Lara Thompson negotiated the deal on behalf of eOne with Mankad for Shiv Hans, Stephen Dembitzer of Dembitzer & Dembitzer and Alexis Garcia for WME.

4MinuteMile_440x300Double Dutch International has acquired international sales rights to 4 Minute Mile, which it will introduce to buyers at the Cannes market. The inspirational sports film, directed by Charles-Olivier Michaud, landed a U.S. distribution deal yesterday via Gravitas Ventures. Kelly Blatz, Analeigh Tipton, Cam Gigandet, Kim Basinger and Richard Jenkins star in the story of Drew (Blatz), a talented high school track athlete struggling to overcome the inner-city surroundings that threaten to imprison him. He turns turns to a damaged ex-track coach (Jenkins) to reach for more within himself than he ever imagined possible. Howard Burd, Micah Sparks, Deborah Moore, Mark DiSalle and Jennifer Reibman produced. The rights deal was egotiated by Jason Moring for Double Dutch and Burd on behalf of the filmmakers.

As expected, Abel Ferrara’s controversial Welcome To New York will have its world premiere at Cannes, but it won’t officially be part of the event. Wild Bunch will hold a special screening on Saturday May 17 with stars Gerard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset in tow. The company is also releasing the film on VOD that day in France, bypassing a theatrical release. The movie is inspired by the 2011 summer sex scandal surrounding former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Depardieu plays Mr Deveraux a man who handles billions of dollars a day, controls the economic fate of nations, and dreamed of saving the world but cannot save himself. Bisset plays his wife, Simone. Read More »

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