Spier Films makes Cannes debut

South African/Anglo sales outfit at the market

CANNES -- Making its market debut at Cannes is the new South African/Anglo sales outfit Spier Films.

Intending to work closely with first- and second-time directors, the mandate of the company is to sell, produce and finance high-quality art house films with a view to co-producing some bigger-budget productions.

"We basically have a slate of Un Certain Regard films," Spier Films director Michael Auret said of a slate that includes the Un Certain Regard film "The Dead Girl's Feast," Berlinale title "Ciao Bella," Sundance film "Son of Man," Rotterdam competition title "Fujian Blue" and Forum title "Correction."

According to the company's Christina Beatty, Spier Films is the only South African company able to provide private equity for production, which it does through parent company Spier, a South African entity dedicated to arts and preservation.

The company also has a production arm, which produced Mark Dornford-May's Golden Bear winner "U-Carmen eKhayelitsha" in 2004.

Spier also has a U.K.-based theatrical distribution arm, which recently released Dornford-May's "Son of Man."

"We are really a vertically integrated company, and our selling point is that we have production, sales and distribution and work in a very transparent way dealing with the needs of each individual film," Beatty said.
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