Double Award Winner "Invasions" at Miramax; "Uzak" and "Osama" Also Set for U.S. Release
by Eugene Hernandez
One of the few widely acclaimed Cannes competition entries has secured U.S. distribution. Denys Arcand's "The Barbarian Invasions" (Les Invasions Barbares), which won two awards on the closing night of the Festival de Cannes, has been acquired by Miramax. A handful of other award-winning films, including "Uzak" from Turkey and "Osama," which is set in Afghanistan, are on track for a U.S. release.
Arcand's film, which he wrote and directed, won the prize for best screenplay as well as a best actress nod for Marie-Josee Croze. The film, a sequel to the 1986 film "Decline of the American Empire," was described by Miramax as the story of "a man who spends the last days of his life making peace with his life and exploring the ties that bind family and friends."
"Uzak" (Distant) which also won two awards in Cannes, including the grand prize and a best actor award for its two leads, is set for U.S. distribution by New Yorker Films according to the New York Times. indieWIRE's Cannes reporter Stephen Garrett called the film "a beautifully realized study of a middle-aged Turk and his emotionally disconnected life as a successful photographer in Istanbul," in an article last week.
Sedigh Barmak's "Osama," which screened in the Cannes Directors Fortnight sidebar was awarded a special mention by the Camera d'Or jury that screened first-time features in Cannes. It has been acquired by United Artists.
"The Barbarian Invasions" was produced by Denise Robert and Daniel Louis of Cinemaginaire and co-produced by Fabienne Vonier from Pyramide. Rights were acquired from Flach Pyramide International (FPI).
"Denys Arcand is a great filmmaker whose work stood out high above the rest of the films at this year's Cannes Film Festival," said Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein in a prepared statement. "The film is full of humanity and shows a fascinating perspective on friendship and family. We are pleased to be in business with Denys, Denise, and Daniel." Miramax' UK based VP Maeva Gatineau and EVP Agnes Mentre brought the film to the company.
"This mainstream intellectual film never lets its higher concepts capsize a basic sense of entertainment," wrote Stephen Garrett in his indieWIRE dispatch from Cannes, regarding "Invasions," "Which was much appreciated by its premiere crowd: the end of the film was greeted with overwhelming applause and a few cries of 'bravo!'"
In addition to "The Barbarian Invasions," a handful of other Cannes official selection titles have been acquired for U.S. distribution so far. "Dogville" was nabbed by Lions Gate and "Japanese Story" was acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films. As buyers get back to business this week a number of additional acquisitions are expected.