EXCLUSIVE: Wild Bunch has added eight French projects to its lineup ahead of the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema in Paris next week. They include works from the talent behind such films as Of Gods And Men, A Prophet and Tell No One, and I’ve got a preview of them below.
The Rendez-Vous brings out some 450 international buyers to sample the wares of local sales companies — and soak up a lot of champagne. Sponsored by France’s film export body Unifrance, it’s a must-attend on the calendar for indie distributors who spend four days at a market and screenings in Paris’ Opéra Garnier district. Although not a lot of business is transacted during the event per se, it remains a key opportunity for French sales companies to offer a glimpse at locally produced films that will circulate throughout the year. Wild Bunch typically uses the Rendez-Vous as a platform for its French pics. Last year, Vincent Maraval and his team started talking about eventual Cannes Jury Prize winner Poliss, which Sundance Selects later picked up. In 2010, the company emphasized Of Gods And Men, which ultimately won the Cannes Grand Prize and the Best Picture César and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. This year, along with talking up the new French projects, Wild Bunch will screen The Players for the first time. The star-studded series of vignettes about infidelity is from a group of directors that includes The Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius and Jean Dujardin (starring here in his first role since The Artist). It sold well during AFM while the new titles are also ones to watch given the company’s track record with some of the biggest exports of recent years.
Among those new titles are Tell No One producer Alain Attal’s 14 million euros Populaire, an already buzzy Mad Men-era typing competition romcom starring Romain Duris, Deborah François and Artist breakout Bérénice Bejo. Another romantic comedy on the slate, director Valérie Donzelli’s Hand In Hand, sees a mirror maker with a taste for hip-hop and an opera dance director befallen by a strange phenomenon that leaves them forced to mimic each other’s movements. Wild Bunch recently handled Donzelli’s Declaration Of War, which is this year’s Oscar entry from France. The company is also repping Fidélité Films’ Renoir, about the relationship between artist Auguste Renoir, his filmmaker son Jean and the muse they once shared. Michel Bouquet stars. Also on the slate, Of Gods And Men co-screenwriter Etienne Comar and Vendome Pictures’ Philippe Rousselet are producing Haute Cuisine, based on the true story of French president François Mitterrand and his personal cook.