With festival and market screenings still a day away, attendees made their way to the South of France Tuesday for the 2006 Festival de Cannes and the Marche du Film. The 2006 event opens Wednesday with Ron Howard's "The Da Vinci Code," which screened for festival press during a late evening showing here tonight. Meanwhile, the Marche du Film emerged as companies announced a few pre-market deals and organizers put the finishing touches on this year's venues.
[indieWIRE's Cannes '06 Market Daily column is being published in the Cannes Market News print dailies, produced by Le Film Francais and the Marche du Film. 13,000 copies of the English-language publication are available in all festival venues, hotels and throughout Cannes.]
Smooth Sailing: Jerome Paillard Kicks Off the 47th Marche du Film
Sitting in his bright office at the Marche du Film, Cannes market director Jerome Paillard proudly announced Tuesday afternoon that this year the market will welcome more than 10,000 participants and nearly 4,500 films. Despite continued growth at the Marche du Film, now in its 47th year, registrants should not expect any major changes on the Croisette this year.
"Cannes is such a strong even that you cannot feel, from year to year, radical changes," Paillard explained on the eve of the event, in a conversation with indieWIRE, "It is more (about) smooth evolutions," he smiled," citing increases in the number of films, countries, buyers and sellers. "There is always growth," Paillard said, explaining that in fact the overall number of people coming to the Festival de Cannes has remained steady, but "more and more people who are coming for the festival are actually coming for the market." 1,500 screenings for 1,600 buyers will take place at the Marche du Film, through May 27th.
The Marche du Film, with just 2,000 attendees ten years ago, has already logged nearly 8,700 registrants for 2006, on its way to the 10,000 attendees from 86 countries this year. Asia alone accounts for 23% of attendees, with 16% coming from the U.S., 17% from France, 14% from France and 135 from England.
If there is a general trend in recent years, it's a move in favor of producers, Paillard explained, "The evolution of the market is more and more about producers coming to Cannes to finance their films." He added that his team has reacted to the shift by creating the Producers Network, offering some 500 producers a number of special services, including networking events and access to international financing entities.
Asked if there were any particular aspects of the market that he and his team sought to revise, modify or improve in the past year, Paillard smiled, and pausing said, "The locations, the venue...you cannot have a totally different feeling when you arrive in Cannes." Pointing out the window at the blue sky and the Mediterranean, he added, "The bay of Cannes is sunny!"
Weinsteins Get "Seven Swords" for U.S.
In a pact with Fortissimo Films, The Weinstein Company has secured all U.S. theatrical and video rights to Tsui Hark's martial arts epic, "Seven Swords." Already a major success in China, the film earned more than $10.3 million (US) and opened the 2005 Venice Film Festival. Set in China during the Ching Dynasty amidst a ban on all martial arts practices and a hunt by imperial enforcers to execute martial artists, the film is described as the story of "a group of seven master swordsmen (who) set out to save a village besieged by the enforcers." The film stars Donnie Yen ("Hero"), Leon Lai ("Comrades: Almost A Love Story"), Charlie Yeung ("New Police Story"), Sun Honglei, Lu Yi, Kim So-Yeun, Lau Kar-Leung, Zhang Jingchu, Tai Liwu, and Duncan Chow.
Cheung Chi-Sing and Chun Tin-Nam adapted the screenplay based on the original novel, "Seven Swordsmen From Mt Tian," and it was produced by Lee Joo-Ick, Ma Zhongjun, and Pan Zhizhong, with Richard Wong, Hong Bong-Chul and Zhang Yong serving as executive producers. It is a Film Workshop Production presented by Bejing Giwen Film & TV Production Co., Boram Entertainment and City Glory Pictures.
"I can think of no better swordsman than Harvey Weinstein to win our film an audience in the U.S.," Tsui Hark said in a statement. The deal marks Fortissimo's first sale to The Weinstein Company. [Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE]
CMG Scoops Int'l Rights to 2005 Tribeca Fest Winner, "The Treatment"
Cinema Management Group (CMG) has acquired all international rights to the romantic comedy, "The Treatment" which won the Tribeca Film Festival's "Made in New York - Best Narrative Feature" award recently. The film, which will be offered at the Cannes Market, was directed by Oren Rudavsky ("Hiding and Seeking") and is described as a "moving and funny love story about a nerdy but likeable intellectual who finds the woman of his dreams, with an eccentric Freudian psychoanalyst." Chris Eigeman ("The Last Days of Disco") and Ian Holm ("The Lord of the Rings") star in the film. "We are thrilled to have discovered 'The Treatment' at Tribeca," commented GMG president Edward Noeltner in a statement. "It's the perfect New York City-set movie, a little neurotic, very attaching, and in the end you just can't get enough of the characters." [Brian Brooks/indieWIRE]
Six EFP "Producers on the Move" Screen Projects in Cannes
Six films produced via the European Film Promotion's (EFP) Producers on the Move 2006 program have been selected to screen in several sections of the Festival de Cannes. Titles screening are: "The Boy on a Galloping Horse" by Adam Guzinski and produced by Piotr Dzieciol, Opus Film, Poland (screening Out of Competition); "Uro" by Stefan Faldbakken, produced by Christian Fredrik Martin, Norway (screening in Un Certain Regard); "Retrieval" by Slawomir Fabicki, produced by Piotr Dzieciol, Opus Film, Poland (screening in Un Certain Regard); "White Palms" by Szabolcs Hajdu, produced by Ivan Angelusz, Katapult Film, Hungary (screening in Directors' Fortnight); "Soul Kicking" by Yannis Economidis, produced by Panos Papahadzis, Argonauts Productions, Greece (screening in Critics' Week); "The Bothersome Man" by Jens Lien, co-produced by Ingvar Thordarson, Kisi Productions, Iceland (screening in Critics' Week). This year, 22 producers from around Europe participated in the EFP initiative that aims to support emerging European producers and support cross-border collaboration. [Brian Brooks/indieWIRE]
German Buyers Capture "The Intruder"
Theatrical, television and DVD/home entertainment rights to Frank van Mechelen's thriller "The Intruder" have been acquired by German buyers. Atlas Film + Medien picked up German theatrical rights to the film, which was Belgium's box office champion in 2005, while television rights went to ZDF and Epix Media took DVD and home entertainment rights. Uwe Schwentker negotiated the deal for Atlas Film + Medien with producers Eric Wirix and Jan Theys of Brussels-based Skyline Entertainment. "The Intruder" is screening in Cannes via Flanders Image at 15.30 at Star 4 on Saturday 20 May as part of the Flanders Screenings, a full day of Belgium market showings.
The film, which screened as official selections in both Montreal and Hamburg 2005, is the story of a father searching for his teenage daughter. Eighteen months after her disappearance, he ends up in a mysterious place in the Ardennes where locals seem to be harbouring "some very dark secrets." [Brian Brooks/indieWIRE]
Genius and Grodfilm Partner in Five-year Pact
Genius Products, Inc. has entered into an exclusive five-year distribution agreement with filmmaker Dan Grodnik's Grodfilm Corporation that gives Genius Products the first right of refusal on all future film productions, which was announced today by Genius CEO Trevor Drinkwater. Genius expects to release six to 12 films annually under the agreement, which includes home video, digital, television and theatrical distribution rights throughout North America.
In addition to DVD releases, the films covered by this agreement, together with new films from the recently announced deal with Peace Arch Entertainment and the Wellspring library, give Genius an extensive library of film content to exploit over a variety of digital distribution platforms. According to the company theatrical releases resulting from the deal will be distributed by The Weinstein Company, which owns a controlling interest in Genius. [Brian Brooks/indieWIRE]
[Get the latest from the Festival de Cannes throughout the day in indieWIRE's special Cannes '06 section.]