UPDATE, May 23, 6:15 AM PST: What we broke earlier today has been officially announced: IFC’s Sundance Selects has acquired North American rights to Jonas Carpignano’s Italian-language film A Ciambra. IFC’s EVP Acquisitions and Productions Arianna Bocco negotiated the deal with WME on behalf of the filmmakers. A Ciambra premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. Sundance Selects also distributed Carpignano’s Mediterranea in 2015, which also played at Cannes.
EXCLUSIVE UPDATE, May 22, 11 PM PST: IFC is closing up a Cannes distribution deal for A Ciambra, the Jonas Carpignano-directed film that premiered last Friday in Director’s Fortnight. Carpignano wrote the Italian-language film that stars Pio Amato, and Koudous Seihon, and is produced by Rodrigo Teixeira, Paolo Carpignano, Jon Coplon, Christoph Daniel, and Gwyn Sannia.
The drama is set in a small Romani community in Italy, where 14-year-old Pio is in a hurry to grow up. When he sets out to prove his worth to his brother, a series of events will forever change the way he sees the world. WME Global is brokering the deal here. IFC’s Sundance Selects released Carpignano’s celebrated Mediterranea in 2015. The film was made possible through the Emerging Filmmakers Fund spearheaded by Martin Scorsese and Sikelia producing partner Emma Koskoff and Brazil-based RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira to provide funding and help in postproduction and distribution to pics by first- and second-time feature filmmakers.
As most buyers (and deal-dogging journalists) head home this morning, the pace of transactions here has been downright sluggish, with no real “gotta have it” titles that prompt overnight bidding battles. But all that means is these films will find homes in deals that follow a more deliberate track. Several more will likely close by the time the festival prizes are dished out this weekend, even if they aren’t for huge minimum guarantees. The pre-buys have also been slow, even though Netflix started things off strongly paying near $18 million for world rights to the Michael Jackson’s chimp stop motion animation pic Bubbles. Coming into the festival, I’d heard talk that Netflix would close a deal for that tweet-inspired pic that had been rumbled about awhile for a movie invented on the fly to star Rihanna and Lupita N’Yongo with Ava DuVernay in line to direct and Issa Rae (Insecure) to write. It’s all based on a series of tweets that followed a photo of the singer and 12 Years A Slave actress sitting together at a fashion show, with the suggestion they would make intriguing screen partners, with DuVernay and Rae saying they would be up for collaboration, in subsequent tweets. Apparently this will be enough to create an expensive movie package. Netflix has been unwilling to confirm any of this. It has hit the press anyway.
EARLIER, May 22, 6:49 AM PST: This Cannes will go down in the record books for most glorious weather, but also for a very slow pace of domestic acquisition deals at its midway point.
The deals will surely come, as the moving Sean Baker-directed The Florida Project had its first screening this morning that was packed with acquisitions execs from every major distributor, and with buzz building for deals on films from Disobedience to Book Club, Redoubtable, 120 Beats Per Minute, Pom and I Feel Pretty.
Sources said a deal is imminent for the Italian-language film A Ciambra, the Jonas Carpignano-directed pic that premiered Friday to rousing applause in Directors’ Fortnight. Sources say two bidders are in the mix: Amazon and IFC Films, latter of which distributed Mediterranea, which got the director a National Board of Review prize for his feature debut
This deal will be particularly gratifying as it will be the first sale for a film to be boosted by the emerging filmmakers fund spearheaded by Martin Scorsese and Sikelia producing partner Emma Koskoff and Brazil-based RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira to provide funding and help in postproduction and distribution to pics by first- and second-time feature filmmakers.