"Across the River and Into the Trees"
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Film Cannes film market takeovers 2023: Bleecker Street and Magnolia kick things off

Cannes film market takeovers 2023: Bleecker Street and Magnolia kick things off

"Across the River and Into the Trees"

The Cannes market 2023 is underway alongside the iconic film festival, and as auteurs from around the world vie for the Palme d’Or, buyers will be on the hunt for the next international blockbuster.

Last year’s Marché du Film scored deals for Palme winner ‘Triangle of Sadness’ and festival favorites such as ‘EO’ and ‘The Eight Mountains’, as well as eye-catching packages for Emily Blunt’s film “Pain Hustlers” and “Fingernails” with Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed. This year’s market is full of similar commercial packages, including new films from Mike Flanagan, Michel Gondry, Pablo Larraín and others. Headlining the competition program is Todd Haynes’ May December, starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore: it is rare that such a star-studded English-language title actually arrives on the Croisette without being distributed.

Below are some of the deals we’ve tracked so far in Cannes, and we’ll be updating this space with more sales as they arrive.

Title: “Across the River and into the Trees”
Section: Promotions
Distributor: Blecker Street

In its second deal with the Marché, Bleecker Street acquired the North American rights to “Across the River and into the Trees” starring Liev Schreiber. The film is based on Ernest Hemingway’s latest novel and the distributor plans to release it later this fall.

Paula Ortiz directs the film also starring Matilda De Angelis, Josh Hutcherson and Danny Huston. The film is set in post-WWII Italy and follows a war-obsessed war hero who commandeers a military chauffeur to take him to his old haunts in Venice, where he meets an extraordinary young woman who will rekindle his hopes for him. Peter Flannery wrote the screenplay.

The film is produced by Robert MacLean and Michael Paletta for Tribune Pictures, along with John Smallcombe, Kirstin Roegner, Ken Gord, Jianmin LV and Daxing Zhang of Spring Era Films. Executive producers include William J. Immerman, Laura Paletta, David Beckingham, Justin Raikes, Simon Fawcett, Jonathan Taylor, Hani Musleh, Harel Goldstein and Rick Romano. Andrea Biscaro is the Italian line producer. The deal was brokered by Kent Sanderson and Avy Eschenasy on behalf of Bleecker Street, with The Exchange’s Brian O’Shea and UTA Independent Film Group producing.

Title: “The YouTube Effect”
Section: Promotions
Distributor: Film Drafthouse

In one of three new acquisitions announced Tuesday, Drafthouse Films acquired the rights to Alex Winter’s latest documentary “The YouTube Effect,” which is the “Zappa” director’s illuminating look at the culture and influence surrounding YouTube. The film premiered at Tribeca in 2022 and will now open exclusively at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas on July 7 before expanding on July 14.

Drafthouse has also acquired another documentary, “Mister Organ,” the latest film from “Tickled” director David Farrier about another story stranger than fiction. That film was an audience favorite at Fantastic Fest and is already a box office hit in New Zealand.

Finally there was “Everyone Will Burn,” a Spanish supernatural horror film from director David Hebrero. It follows a little girl who may hold the key to stopping a legendary impending apocalypse. All three films will be released in theaters at the Alamo locations and other theaters before debuting on streaming.

Title: “The Origin”
Section: Promotions
Distributor: Blecker Street

Bleecker Street announced on Tuesday that it has acquired the North American rights to ‘The Origin’ from Sony Pictures’ Stage 6, a film which had its world premiere at the 2022 BFI London Film Festival and was nominated for five British Independent Film Awards and he won one. Bleecker has a 2023 theatrical release planned for this fall or winter.

Andrew Cumming’s thriller Stone Age is a horror film set 45,000 years in the past and follows the first humans banding together in search of a new land. But when they suspect an evil and mystical being is hunting them, the clan is forced to face a horrific danger they never imagined. Chuku Modu, Kit Young, Iola Evans, Safia Oakley-Green, Luna Mwezi, Arno Luening and newcomers Rosebud Melarkey and Tyrell Mhlanga. Ruth Greenberg wrote the screenplay.

David Kaplan, Sam Intili, Kristin Irving for the BFI (which awards funds from the National Lottery) and Leslie Finlay for Screen Scotland are executive producers. The takeover was negotiated by Kent Sanderson and Avy Eschenasy on behalf of Bleecker Street with Stage 6.

Title: “Untitled Ernest Cole Documentary”
Section: Package
Distributor: Magnolia

Magnolia has acquired the North American rights to an untitled documentary by “I Am Not Your Negro” director Raoul Peck about South African photographer Ernest Cole, who chronicled apartheid throughout South Africa. The film will hit the Cannes market for international sales from mk2.

The film highlights Cole’s work through more than 60,000 newly recovered 35mm film negatives shot during his stay in South Africa and while filming in exile in the United States in New York City and the southern United States. Negatives were thought to be lost forever, and the film seeks to reintroduce a great black artist to a new generation.

Magnolia plans to release the film theatrically. The deal was negotiated by Magnolia co-CEO Dori Begley, as well as SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden, and Range Media Partners on behalf of mk2 and the filmmakers.

Title: “The Stones and Brian Jones”
Section: Promotions
Distributor: Magnolia

Nick Broomfield (“Kurt and Courtney”) directs this documentary about Brian Jones, a founding member of the Rolling Stones who died in 1969 but was key to the British rock legends’ early success. The film features interviews with core members of the Stones and other key players and has never-before-seen archival footage of the band.

Magnolia has acquired the film ahead of the Cannes market, while Submarine is screening it to international buyers at the Marché du Film. Magnolia will release it in theaters later this year.

“The Stones and Brian Jones” is presented by BBC Music, a Lafayette Film Production, and is produced by Nick Broomfield, Shani Hinton, Marc Hoeferlin and Kyle Gibbon. The executive producers are Paul Trynka, Harriet Vyner and Charles Finch and executive producers for the BBC Patrick Holland, Jan Younghusband and Mark Bell.

Title: “Strange way to live”
Section: Special Screenings
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics/MUBI

Pedro Almodóvar’s latest short “Strange Way of Life” is a western starring Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke as two gay gunmen who are reunited after working together as mercenaries 25 years earlier. The film is only the Spanish author’s second English-language project after “The Human Voice”.

Sony Pictures Classics, which also released “The Human Voice,” acquired “Strange Way of Life” while in pre-production and holds worldwide rights to the project (excluding UK, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and Latin America), but the film in view of the Marché has obtained a couple of international agreements from Mubi for Italy and Latin America. Sony Pictures Classics plans to release the film this fall following its premiere as an Official Selection in the Cannes lineup.

Produced by Almodóvar’s The Desire and hosted by Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent, “Strange Way of Life” also stars Pedro Casablanc, Manu Rios, George Steane, Jose Condessa, Jason Fernandez and Sara Salamo. The film is produced by Agustín Almodóvar, with Esther Garcia as executive producer and Barbara Peiro, Diego Pajuelo and Saint Laurent as associate producers. The soundtrack is composed by the four-time Academy Award winner nominate Alberto Iglesias.

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