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Adopt Films to Release Cannes Palm d'Or Winner 'Winter Sleep'

Photo of Sydney Levine By Sydney Levine | Sydneys Buzz July 1, 2014 at 8:30AM

We all know that Adopt Films has acquired all U.S. rights to the 2014 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or Winner, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Winter Sleep.” And we all know that Memento, with three films in the festival (“Cold in July” by Jim Mickle and the Argentinean “Refugiado” by Diego Lerman in the Quinzaine des Realisateurs, and “Winter Sleep” in Competition) is one of the top international sales agents of the best arthouse cinema today…
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Melisa Sözen in "Winter  Sleep"
Melisa Sözen in "Winter Sleep"

We all know that Adopt Films has acquired all U.S. rights to the 2014 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or Winner, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Winter Sleep.” And we all know that Memento, with three films in the festival (“Cold in July” by Jim Mickle and the Argentinean “Refugiado” by Diego Lerman in the Quinzaine des Realisateurs, and “Winter Sleep” in Competition) is one of the top international sales agents of the best arthouse cinema today…

Our Pre-Cannes Film Festival Report, the Pre-Festival Report which Tom Brueggemann and I publish before the Festivals of Toronto, Sundance and Cannes. (Ask me if you want a free copy and I’ll send it to you.) lists international sales agents’ films in all sections of the Cannes Film Festival by numbers:

Wild Bunch

7

Le Pacte

5

Pyramide

4

3 films: Memento , Bac, Doc & Film, Films Distribution, Gaumont, Other Angle

2 films: CJ, Visit, Elle Driver, eOne, Seville, Urban Distribution Int’l, Les Films du Losange, MK2, NDM, Sierra/ Affinity, The Match Factory, Westend

1 film:  Alpha Violet, Altitude, Cinetic, Filmnation, Dreamworks Animation, Showbox, Films Boutique, Rezo, Myriad, Indie Sales, SND - Groupe 6, Sunray, The Coproduction Office, Kinology, Pathe, The Festival Agency, Trust Nordisk, Versatile, Premium Panorama/ Annapurna, Kazak, Lotus,

Celluloid Nightmares, Film Factory, RAI Trade, 31 Juin Films, Alfama, Alice Films, Atoms & Void, Aud, Capricci, Morgane, Paraiso, Six Island Productions

Regarding this film, read my Cannes Blog: Cannes 2014 What I Saw #2: Palme d’Or Winner 'Winter Sleep' or just continue reading here:

Here is what I had to say about the film after I saw it in Cannes:

Whether this film will find a home in the U.S., whose audiences and movie theaters are so impatient, is questionable. At the very least, it should screen at New York’s Film Forum and in L.A. at the American Cinematheque or UCLA’s Film Program. Certainly it will play in the top film festivals forever. It is the sort of classic movie cinephiles will love, along the line of Tarkovsky or Angelopoulos. It is the sort of movie one wishes to see, to fully immerse oneself in, an experience only available in a certain type of movie or after reading a deeply immersive novel of Proust, Tolstoy or Marquez.

Once again, Jeff Lipsky and Adopt Films President Tim Grady who negotiated the deal with Memento Films International head of International Sales and Acquisitions, Tanja Meissner, have proven that they have an impeccable eye for quality.

Adopt plans a year-end 2014 U.S. release for “Winter Sleep.”

Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s epic and yet personally intimate story is about a wealthy self-absorbed Anatolian hotelier and landowner and his uneasy relationships with those around him. Is he evil? Is the power of evil best resisted by giving in to it?

Nuri Bilge Ceylan winning the Palm d'Or for "Winter Sleep"
Nuri Bilge Ceylan winning the Palm d'Or for "Winter Sleep"

This is Nuir Bilge Ceylan’s first Palme d’Or but he has received the Grand Prix twice already: once for “Distant” (2002) and again for 2011 for “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”. He also won for the Director Award in 2008 for “Three Monkeys”. It also won the FIPRESCI prize in Cannes.

“Winter Sleep” is also the second film by a Turkish director to win the Palm, after Yilmaz Guney and Serif Goren’s “The Way” in1982.

When Ceylan received the award, he noted that 2014 was the 100th anniversary of Turkish cinema. “This is a great surprise for me,” Ceylan said, “I want to dedicate the prize to all the young people of Turkey, including those who lost their lives over the past year.”

“Winter Sleep” is being sold internationally by Memento who will also release it in France. Ama Films acquired Greek rights before Cannes. New Wave acquired U.K. rights in Cannes. Stadtkino-Filmverleih has rights for Austria, Film Point Group has Poland.

Mexico

Mantarraya Producciones

Norway

As Fidalgo Film Distribution

Slovak Republic

Film Europe Media Company

Memento coproduced the film with the director's company, NBC Film, in collaboration with Turkey's Zeynofilm, Germany's Bredok Film Production. Eurimages backed the film with 450,000 € of the total 3.6 million € allocated to 13 film productions announced in March 13. (Parenthetically, seven of the Eurimages backed productions had French participation and five German were co-productions. “One, “Lucy in the Star” by Giuseppe Petitto an Italian, Swiss and Austria co-production received 130,000 €. “All My Children” by Ladislav Kabos from Slovakia and Czech Republic received 30,000 €.

To return to “Winter Sleep”: The opening scene of the stunning and surrealistic landscape of Cappadocia, Anatolia immediately establishes this story as exotic and yet familiar. The actor, Haluk Bilginer, seems to be a familiar type – and in fact, his character is that of a former actor who has turned hotelier and landowner; he is attractive in an actor sort of way and seems always somehow distracted while maintaining a hawk’s eye on the household and the area he appears to rule in an almost feudal style. The household he enters and its inhabitants fall into place like pieces of a puzzle one did not realize was, in fact, a puzzle, with the housekeeper, the sister and the young wife slowly taking on a shape within a larger context in this beautiful and ancient city built in the rocks like caves, with a primitively frightening side, personified by the impecunious family living on the property of the landlord. A modern and affable meeting of concerned citizens of the town establishes his relationship with his wife who lives an uneasy truce until he makes one final effort at destabilizing her hard-won independence of mind.

The 3-½ hours of the film pass without ever loosing the audience interest as the story unfolds about the relationship among the townspeople and the landowning man who, in factm is a tyrant until he is forced to see his own powerlessness.

The philosophic underpinnings, discussed in several intimate conversations, about the best way to resist evil, about wealth and the power it bestows and the resentment it engenders, finds a quiet resolution, which arrives unexpectedly along with the end of the story.

"Winter's Sleep"
"Winter's Sleep"

One wonders at the movie’s end if one is about to settle into a long winter sleep or if, in fact, one is emerging from such a sleep in which one dreamt of the previous autumn. And does Winter Sleep solve the problem of evil? In a silent and enigmatic way, it says that the power of money and of tyranny, in the face of resistance by one whose soul is not to be conquered, is null.

In a joint statement Grady and Lipsky said: “ ‘Winter Sleep’ is an epic film: A symphony of words and a sonata of visual splendor. A significant stylistic departure from one of the greatest international filmmakers working today. ‘Winter Sleep’ is a motion picture that will have movie audiences discussing with great passion its provocative discussions about art and artists, class struggle, and love and marriage. A film like this, so rich with ideas, dazzling dialogue, and intelligent characters, is one that is instantly unforgettable. We are proud to partner with Nuri Bilge Ceylan on his achievement of a lifetime. “

Adopt Films just debuted Martin Provost’s follow-up to “Seraphine,” “Violette,” starring Emmanuelle Devos and Sandrine Kiberlain. (Another great film)

Read our coverage here:

'Violette' by Martin Provost

Other recent successes for Adopt Films include the Oscar nominated “Omar” from Hany Abu-Assad, and Yuval Adler’s Venice Film Festival award-winning thriller “Bethlehem.” Its upcoming releases include Vinko Brešan’s Karlovy Vary comedy hit “The Priest’s Children,” Oscar winner Caroline Link’s new drama “Exit Marrakech,” Frederik Steiner’s Zurich,” starring Liv Lisa Fries, and Jacques Doillon’s “Love Battles.”

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This article is related to: Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Winter Sleep, Palme d'Or , International Film Business, International Film Festival, International Sales Agent, International Film Market, Adopt Films , Martin Provost , Violette

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