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Cannes Good-Buys? Should Indie filmmakers be worried about distribution landscape

by Anthony Kaufman
May 29, 2012 2:05 PM
1 Comment
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File this post under the politics of filmmaking (not film and politics). Looking at the acquisition landscape after Cannes got me thinking: Should filmmakers be worried? Cannes is never the business hotbed that is Sundance, but this year's number of purchases seemed to be muted. Even IFC Films, perennially the most active buyer in Cannes, only purchased four films (Wheatley's "Sightseers," Loach's "The Angel's Share," Im Sang Soo's "The Taste of Money," Kiaostami's "Like Someone in Love") as of today, when past years saw the theatrical-and-VOD distrib pick up more than half a dozen movies. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't seen Magnolia pick up anything, which means either 1) there were slim pickings at the festival, or 2) the market is downscaling once again.


The Weinstein Co, which last year bought "The Artist," and ran all the way to the Oscars with it, only purchased a documentary about the Libyan revolution and a comic drama about an Australian Aborginal all-girl music group. And prestige player Sony Pictures Classics got Michael Haneke's Palme winner "Amour" and the Gael Garcia Bernal vehicle "No," which is about on par with the company's fest activity, but they certainly weren't going out on a limb. Samuel Goldwyn got one ("Renoir"). So did Oscilloscope ("Reality"). And the distributor that no one has heard of, Indomina, nabbed the festival's film maudit "Holy Motors."

A number of the higher profile pics were pre-bought, of course, with AMC Networks acquiring Walter Salles' "On the Road," and the Weinsteins already hailing their criminal double feature of "Killing Them Softly" and "Lawless."

But the fact that Lee Daniel's controversial hot topic "The Paperboy" hasn't sold yet suggests to me a cooling of the marketplace. When a film that shows Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron can't stir up a bidding war, what can?

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1 Comment

  • Rodney Perkins | May 30, 2012 11:24 AMReply

    Any discussion of the film marketplace should include . . . film markets. To say that " Cannes is never the business hotbed that is Sundance" ignores that fact that Cannes hosts the largest film market in the world: Marché du Film. If you expand your analysis to include sales of indies out of Marché du Film, I am sure the nature of your worried thesis would change.

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