BREAKING: Lot of naysayers out there predicting there will be little worthy product in Cannes, but here’s a title that should draw interest. As Exclusive Media winds down, former head of International Sales and Distribution Alex Walton has teamed with financier and producer Ken Kao for a Cannes launch of Bloom. The shingle comes to the Croisette with Sea Of Trees, the Gus Van Sant-directed drama that stars Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey and reportedly Ken Watanabe, and Life Of Pi’s Gill Netter producing along with Kao. The latter will finance through his Waypoint Entertainment banner. CAA and WME Global will handle domestic on the Chris Sparling-scripted film that stars McConaughey as a suicidal man who treks to a dense forest at the foothills of Mount Fuji. Though the Sea Of Trees is called the perfect place to die, he encounters a lost Japanese man (Watanabe) and invests all his energy to save him, and saving himself in the process.
Kao hatched that project under his Waypoint banner, where he is in postproduction on Terrence Malick’s next two films — Knight Of Cups starring Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett; and Malick’s untitled film starring Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman and Rooney Mara. Kao is also an executive producer of Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Silence and previously produced Rampart.
Kao has put up the money to facilitate a Bloom launch that will include a lot of product generated by Exclusive before its chiefs, Nigel Sinclair and Guy East, were ousted in March. They took some projects to start White Horse Pictures, and Exclusive Media backer Dasym made this deal with Kao and Walton that leave them the reps of the existing Exclusive slate and its third-party producer titles. All of this folds under the Bloom banner.
Kao is 37, Walton 38 and they have the opportunity and youthful energy to make a splash in the market. At Exclusive, Walton worked on such films as Ron Howard’s Rush, David Ayer’s End Of Watch, George Clooney’s The Ides Of March, James Watkins’ The Woman In Black starring Daniel Radcliffe, Peter Weir’s The Way Back, and Matt Reeves’ Let Me In. Before that, Walton served stints at Paramount Vantage and HanWay.
As for the Exclusive product whose remaining territories will be shopped by Bloom, that slate includes John Carney’s Begin Again starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo; the Scott Frank-directed A Walk Among The Tombstones starring Liam Neeson; the Gilles Paquet-Brenner-helmed Gillian Flynn novel adaptation of Dark Places starring Charlize Theron; The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death; the Jackie Chan-starrer Skiptrace; the soccer biopic Pele; the Brian Kirk-helmed Passengers starring Keanu Reeves; the Gavin O’Connor-directed Jane Got A Gun starring Portman; Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno; Out Of The Dark starring Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman; and the Sam Raimi-produced Murder Of A Cat.