'Bright Star' on path to the U.S.

Pohlad, Berney's shingle grabs rights

CANNES -- Jane Campion's Competition title "Bright Star" is shining for Bill Pohlad and Bob Berney's as-yet-unnamed distribution venture after Pathe International made it official that the duo's new shingle has claimed U.S. rights.

The movie, which unspools here Friday, stars Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw and details the love affair between 23-year-old poet John Keats and the fashion-forward Fanny Brawne.

Berney said that Oscar winner Campion has created "a film that's classic, yet uniquely modern," adding that it "captures the love and unbridled passion between Keats and Fanny in a way that transcends period and will connect with young audiences today."

U.K.- and France-based Pathe sealed the deal on the eve of this year's Marche du Film.

"We trust their impeccable taste and distribution acumen in bringing 'Bright Star' to American audiences," Pathe executive vp Francois Ivernel said.

Written and directed by Campion, "Bright Star" is produced by Jan Chapman and Caroline Hewitt and has backing from Pathe, Screen Australia, BBC Films and the U.K. Film Council alongside the New South Wales Film and Television Office and Hopscotch International.

The deal was negotiated by Pathe's Muriel Sauzay, Mike Runagall and Pierre du Plessis, along with attorney Robert Darwell. Berney and Sara Rose negotiated on behalf of the distribution company.

Pathe will release the movie in France on July 22, while Warner Bros. will release the film for Pathe in the U.K.

International sales are handled by Pathe International.
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