Cannes: Stars Plug Market Projects

Jennifer Lawrence Spirit Awards H 2013
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UPDATED: A-listers, such as Jennifer Lawrence and Justin Timberlake, increasingly are landing on the Croisette to tempt buyers.

Martin Scorsese, Jennifer Lawrence, Justin Timberlake, Tim Burton, Jackie Chan, Fan Bingbing, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and Pele all will be in Cannes this year - but not just to stroll the red carpet at the Palais.

They’re here to promote projects at the script stage — except for Lawrence — that are being shopped at the Marche du Film. The unprecedented star wattage for market titles indicates a whole new level of ambition in selling titles to foreign distributors and underscores the increasing difficulty of breaking through the noise. In previous years, there have been one-off events, but never on this scale.

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“Increasingly in the international and independent works, we have to set up projects as events,” says IM Global’s Stuart Ford, who is shopping Scorsese’s next film Silence to buyers.

Today, Scorsese will meet with a large crowd of acquisitions executives during a Q&A with Ford asking the questions. Starring Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe, the movie is a longtime passion project for the director and is set in 17th century Japan.

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Later tonight, Timberlake will rock one of the beachside party Mark Damon’s Foresight Unlimited, Laurence Mark and Timothy Scott Bogart in support of the Neil Bogart biopic announced on the eve of Cannes. Timberlake will play the legendary record executive, with RCA Records partnering on the project, now at script?stage.

The party will be the second act for the performer, who will also be on hand to press the flesh with buyers at an exclusive, invitation-only brunch. Timberlake also is in Cannes for the world premiere of the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, which is playing in competition at the?festival.

But the splashiest event of all is likely to be Lionsgate’s Saturday night party for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, one of the most coveted tickets in town. Freshly crowned Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence is sure to attract crowds in and outside of the party. All of the Hunger Games films were sold independently internationally and Saturday’s soiree is a nod to those who have supported the franchise.

Sellers say it’s important to instill confidence in buyers by keeping them involved throughout the process. Ron Howard has met with foreign distributors throughout the financing and making of Exclusive Media’s Formula One drama Rush, including showing the film during the European Film Market in February.

Harvey Weinstein will host a buyers’ brunch with Burton, in town to push Big Eyes. Pele, the world’s most famous soccer player, is in Cannes to boost the profile of the Imagine Entertainment-backed eponymous biopic that Exclusive Media is selling.