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Cannes Lineup Leaves Uphill Battle for Acquisition Execs

Cannes Lineup Leaves Uphill Battle for Acquisition Execs

READ MORE: Cannes Wish List: 44 Films We Hope Make the Festival’s 2016 Lineup

The 69th Cannes Film Festival lineup may have surprised and delighted the indie film community by including works from seven first-time directors, but U.S. acquisitions executives have scant choices when it comes to the festival’s marketplace.

Most titles are spoken for English language-wise, with Sean Penn’s “The Last Face,” being the only U.S. film looking for a home. Amazon has the rights to five titles on this year’s list, proving that films made for the small screen are playing an increasingly important role at even the top film festivals in the world. Though the company has plans to give the majority of its original titles a theatrical release, these will likely come though partnerships similar to Amazon’s agreement with Lionsgate to release Woody Allen’s opening night film “Cafe Society.”
IFC Films and sister company Sundance Selects have also nabbed a significant group of films at the festival, with Sundance Selects acquiring U.S. rights to Cristian Mungiu’s “Graduation,” Jean-Pierre and Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s “The Unknown Girl,” and Nicole Garcia’s “From the Land of the Moon.” IFC has the rights to Olivier Assayas’ “Personal Shopper,” starring Kristen Stewart. 

Non-English language films that could be hot acquisition items include Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle,” according to Josh Braun, co-president of international sales agent Submarine Entertainment. Braun added that his three other most-anticipated films at the festival were all Amazon titles: Chan-wook Park’s “The Handmaiden,” Nicolas Winding Refn’s “The Neon Demon,” and Jim Jarmusch’s Iggy Pop documentary “Gimme Danger.”

Amazon’s fifth film at the festival is Jarmusch’s Adam Driver-led drama “Paterson,” about a bus driver and poet in Paterson, New Jersey.

“I’m always eager to see Jim Jarmusch’s movies, but the fact that [“Paterson”] is set in the city that was the main character and shaping force behind William Carlos Williams’ poem gives it an extra level of interest,” said Kent Jones, Director of the New York Film Festival.

One of the few surprises in this year’s lineup is “Toni Erdmann,” the second film from director Maren Ade, whose highly acclaimed debut “Everyone Else” premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009.

“This is the first acknowledgement of the Berlin school,” said Grasshopper Film CEO Ryan Krivoshey, referring to a group of filmmakers including Ade, Christian Petzold, Thomas Aslan and Angela Schanelec, among others. “It’s certainly a late acknowledgement by Cannes, but it’s still great to see.”

READ MORE: 2016 Cannes Film Festival Announces Lineup, Including New Films From Steven Spielberg, Jodie Foster and Many More

The inclusion of director Alain Guiraudie’s “Rester Vertical” in competition this year comes following his film “Stranger by the Lake,” which screened as a part of the Un Certain Regard category in 2013.

“There was a lot of hubbub that time that [“Stranger by the Lake”] wasn’t in competition—that it was as good as the films in competition—so it’s nice to see “Rester Vertical” in competition this time,” Krivoshey said.

One of the most expected films that will be appear at the festival next month is Pedro Almodovar’s “Julieta.”

Visit Films head of acquisitions Ania Trzebiatowska noted that three films in each of the Competition and Un Certain Regard categories come from women directors.

“At least it’s not just male filmmakers,” she said.

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Check out a trailer from last year’s Palme d’Or winner, “Dheepan,” below:

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