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Sony Pictures Classics presciently picked up North American rights to Michael Haneke’s Amour, winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, back in April. And IFC Films and Sundance Selects took Walter Salles’ On the Road the week before its Cannes debut.
With a number of other high-profile films arriving with distribution in place — , including John Hillcoat’s Lawless and Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly, both to be released by the Weinstein Co. — that didn’t leave a lot of available titles for U.S. distributors to haggle over.
Even so, by the fest’s end, two bits of Southern gothic, Jeff Nichols’ Mud and Lee Daniels’ very divisive The Paperboy — were still looking for a home.
These films, however, left the Croisette having secured U.S. distribution:
The Sapphires (The Weinstein Co.)
Spotting this music-packed saga of all-girl group made up of Aboriginal Australians even before it arrived in Cannes, TWC grabbed the crowd-pleaser right before its out-of-competition debut. But TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein quickly downplayed the idea that he’s plotting another Artist-type awards run for the picture.
Reality (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Despite the death of its founder Adam Yauch on May 4, the New York-based indie, now run by Dan Berger and David Laub, proved it’s in the game by beating out several other competitors to claim U.S. rights to director Matteo Garrone’s dark comedy about a man obsessed with appearing on the Italian version of Big Brother. The movie emerged a surprise winner on closing night when it captured the Grand Prix, which ranks just below the Palme d’Or.
No (Sony Pictures Classics)
The art house-minded distributor’s acquisition of North American rights to Pablo Larrain’s Participant Media-financed and Gael Garcia Bernal-starring drama about the Chilean elections of 1988, No, was quickly vindicated when the film won the top prize in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar.
The Angel’s Share (Sundance Selects)
Jonathan Sehring, president of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, continued his long association with Ken Loach – he has released three of the British director’s previous films – by sealing a deal for U.S. rights to this light-hearted comedy about a whiskey heist. It also charmed the Cannes jury, which awarded it its Jury Prize.
Renoir (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
The Los Angeles-based distributor opted for this biopic about the later days of the painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, starring Michel Bouquet and directed by Gilles Bourdos. The movie screened as the closing-night film of the Un Certain Regard sidebar.
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Jon M. Chu