Wellspring Goes for "Seducing Doctor Lewis" in the U.S.
by Brian Brooks
Wellspring has acquired U.S. rights to Jean-François Pouliot's Canadian feature, "Seducing Doctor Lewis" (La Grande seduction), which took the world cinema audience award earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. The film, which was a box office hit in the predominately French-speaking province of Quebec, grossed over $8 million, outperforming blockbusters "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Matrix" as well as fellow French-Canadian feature, "The Barbarian Invasions," which won the Oscar for best foreign language film last month.
According to Wellspring, "Seducing Doctor Lewis" is "the story of a ragtag fishing community on a small island in Quebec, who in order to get a much-needed factory, must snare a young doctor from the big city by convincing him that their town offers all the charms of a thriving metropolis." The New York-based company plans a late June release, with a video/DVD release to follow (the film will be in theaters in English-speaking Canada this spring). Prior to its theatrical opening, the film will screen at the New Directors/New Films series in New York later this month. "Doctor Lewis" closed the Directors Fortnight last year in Cannes, and was a special presentation last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Wellspring head of acquisitions Marie Therese Guirgis negotiated the deal with Matt Littin of Cinetic Media, who represented producers Roger Frappier and Luc Vandal of Max Films.
"Foreign films that are both smartly made and appealing to a wide audience don't come around very often," Gurgis told indieWIRE on Thursday. "We have been getting some great feedback on the film so far and we are confident that our new distribution team, supported by our new owners, will help the film reach as wide an audience as possible."
The acquisition is the latest for Wellspring which announced a pair of pacts at the AFM last month in Los Angeles. They recently acquired all U.S. rights to Cedric Kahn's "Feux Rouges" (Red Lights) and Marco Bellocchio's "Buongiorno, Notte" (Good Morning, Night). Earlier this year the distributor was itself acquired by American Vantage Media Corporation.
Past theatrical releases include the acclaimed "Russian Ark" by Alexander Sokurov and 'The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.' Upcoming releases include Sokurov's "Father and Son," Bruno Dumont's controversial "29 Palms," Cedric Kahn's Berlin favorite, "Red Lights," and Andre Techine's World War II drama, "Strayed" starring Emanuelle Beart.