American buyers challenge the pandemic to strike the Croisette in numbers | New
All US buyers who generally seek to acquire films in Official Selection are in effect in Cannes this year, despite an overall reduced U.S. presence due to a confluence of pandemic-related travel issues, the July 4 holiday, and the recent virtual marketplace.
IFC President Arianna Bocco, who has Benedetta, Bergman Isle and Paris 13th in Competition, is present, just like Tom Quinn and a small entourage of Neon, who have Memory and Titanium in competition and The year of the eternal storm in Special Sessions.
Sony Classics’ Michael Barker flies to the Croisette, and attendees include Andrew Karpen and Kent Sanderson for Bleecker Street, John van Thaden for Magnolia Pictures and Cohen Media Group, a passionate buyer of French cinema.
Those responsible for acquisitions of streaming platforms are also expected, but in smaller numbers this year.
While most of the major sales agents sit on the sidelines, happy to settle into the summer after what participants report to be a busy virtual marketplace that is expected to provide a steady stream of sales in the weeks to come, The Exchange and the Participant sell on the alongside a handful of other US Market sellers such as Visit Films and Myriad Pictures.
Eager to promote the return of the festival, an enthusiastic coterie of executives will be in town to support the premieres of the official selection.
Focus Features President Peter Kujawski takes off with VP Jason Cassidy and Senior Buyer Kiska Higgs. They will encourage the selection of Sean Baker’s Competition red Rocket, which they acquired for most of the world outside North America, France and Australia, as well as the Un Certain Regard selection by Justin Chon Blue Bayou, for which Focus owns the worldwide rights.
FilmNation founder Glen Basner, who signed a big worldwide deal with MGM for Zoe Kravitz’s upcoming film Cat Isle to the virtual market, managed sales on red Rocket. “I am very happy to come back to Cannes to support the premiere of Sean Baker Red rocket in Competition and to celebrate cinema as only Cannes can do, ”he said.
AGC Studios founder Stuart Ford said he was thrilled to be on the Croisette. “Cannes is my Super Bowl, my Wimbledon and my Champions League are one. There is no AGC team on the field for this one, but it was personally important for me to be here in person and help bring the festival back with flying colors.
MGM will not be on the Croisette for Sean Penn’s Flag day, which the studio recently acquired for North America. French distributor Le Pacte will lead the presentation of the film.
Newly anointed Searchlight Pictures presidents Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum are in attendance for the selection premiere of Wes Anderson’s contest. The French dispatch, while attendee CEO David Linde and recently promoted Executive Vice President of Marketing Laura Kim endorse Cinema For The Climate’s entry Invisible Demons. Rob Williams will lead the field sales efforts alongside mk2 Films.
Hollywood agencies have given staff a few extra days off around the July 4 holiday and will generally remain low-key in Cannes in addition to individual agent duties for participating talent. The finance, sales and packaging teams largely stay on the sidelines as they continue the work started during the virtual marketplace.
From festivals, TIFF Executive Director and Co-Director Joana Vicente flies to meetings. Sundance will be sending one person and no delegation is expected from Telluride or AFI Fest.
Despite the absence of an official presence at the American pavilion this year, the institution welcomes 70 students initially scheduled for 2020.
The UK also has a very small presence in the physical industry, with all free UK Film Center activities having been moved online. From the BFI, Festival Director Tricia Tuttle and Film Fund Editor-in-Chief Lizzie Francke will be on the Croisette; as are BBC director Rose Garnett and Film4 director Daniel Battsek and chief creative officer Ollie Madden.
British sales representatives in town with films in the festival, including the trio of protagonists Janina Vilsmaier, Anne-Lise Fernandez and Mounia Wissinger; Rocket Science Director Thorsten Schumacher, COO Levi Woodward and Sales Manager Claire Taylor; and a full Film Constellation team, led by founder Fabien Westerhoff.