By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 19, 2010 at 11:45AM
American buyers are finally opening up their pocketbooks. As expected, the two first buyers are Sony Pictures Classics, which has picked up critics' fave Another Year, from Oscar perennial Mike Leigh, who has delivered yet another exquisitely acted meditation on the middle-aged human condition. Lesley Manville is tagged for Oscar consideration, especially with SPC behind her.
Blue Valentine has knocked Another Year, downgraded by some naysayers, off the top of indieWIRE's Cannes critics' ratings chart.
And IFC is announcing the purchase of U.S. rights to two French-language films: Montreal filmmaker Xavier Dolan's romantic triangle Heartbeats (Un Certain Regard), his follow-up to last year's Cannes entry I Killed My Mother (which won three awards in Director's Fortnight and was Canada's Oscar submission), and first-timer Antoine Blossier's horror thriller Prey, which IFC head Jonathan Sehring calls "an inventive and wild ride." Gregoire Colin stars.
IFC Films will release Heartbeats via its IFC in Theaters VOD platform. IFC will put Prey through its new genre IFC Midnight label. IFC acquisitions exec Lizzie Nastro negotiated both deals with Rezo's international sales chief Sebastien Chesneau.
Expect more buys from both distribs, who are among the few who are willing to release foreign films, if not during the fest, then after.