German indie distribs pick up Cannes titles


COLOGNE, Germany -- German buyers were back in a big way at this year's Festival de Cannes, with indie distributors from Berlin to Munich picking up virtually all the available Competition titles.

Concorde Filmverleih won the scramble for Cristian Mungiu's Palme d'Or winner "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," signing a deal with sales agent Wild Bunch before the Romanian drama took home the top prize. Concorde also picked up Israeli crowd pleaser "The Band's Visit," which screened in the Un Certain Regard sidebar.

Senator Film, which had already secured rights to Quentin Tarantino's Competition entry "Death Proof," acquired German theatrical rights for Michael Moore's health care documentary "Sicko," which had its world premiere in a special screening in Cannes. The German TV rights to the hard-hitting docu had already been presold to ARD/Degeto.

Senator also prebought Moore's "Uprising," his look at the political culture of U.S. college campuses during his recent 60-city cross-country tour.

In addition to "Sicko," Senator picked up German rights to Tarsem Singh's thriller "Unthinkable"; the horror title "The Eye" starring Jessica Alba; romantic comedy "The Brothers Bloom" from Rian Johnson ("Brick") and Rob Zombie's "Halloween" remake, which stars Malcolm McDowell.

After picking Cannes opener "My Blueberry Nights" shortly before the festival, Munich-based Prokino nabbed two more Competition titles: Julian Schnabel's best director-winning effort "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and the animated "Persepolis" from Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, which received a special jury prize Sunday.

Kinowelt acquired one of the last remaining Competition titles for Germany: Emir Kusturica's "Promise Me This" as well as Pen-ek Ratanaruang's thriller "Ploy," which screened in the Directors' Fortnight section. The Leipzig-based distributor also bought Bill Guttentag's media satire "Live!" featuring Eva Mendes and David Krumholtz following its Cannes market screening and closed deals on several films in Cannes, including "Saw 4" with Lionsgate and on Chinese action drama "The Banquet" from director Xiaogang Feng.