By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire May 13, 2009 at 6:33AM
As insiders began arriving for Cannes, another fest kicked off with buyers buzzing about Bob Berney. The Picturehouse founder finally took a big step closer to his new distribution company with word that he will release Jane Campion's Cannes competition title, "Bright Star."
Seller Pathe began telling competitors about the U.S. deal with Berney and Bill Polhad's unnamed company ahead of friday's competition premiere of the new film here at the festival and this morning, Variety reported on the pact. Berney called the film a "tour-de-force" for the Cannes vet, who won the Palme d'Or back in 1993 for "The Piano."
"[Jane Campion] has created a film that's classic yet uniquely modern," Berney told Variety. "The film captures the love and unbridled passion between Keats and Fanny in a way that transcends period and will connect with young audiences today."
The romantic-drama starring Abbie Cornish, Thomas Sangster and Paul Schneider is based on the three-year romance between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Their affair came to a crashing end when Keats died at age 25.
Blogging in Cannes, Anne Thompson noted that Berney is expected to make many announcements on the Croisette, even though his company still doesn't have a name.
For months, insiders have wondered about Berney's plans, continually wondering whether he would make it official at recent festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, or SXSW.
Chatting with John Pierson at SXSW back in March, Berney offered few details, saying, "I definitely feel like my heart is in independent distribution." And when asked to talk a bit about his intentions, he only added that the company will be 'very different than Picturehouse." And concluding the thought, said, "Hopefully in a few months we will be back."