Cannes Festival gets the buzz going

MUMBAI: The seaside resort of Cannes in the French Riviera was buzzing with activity between 12 and 23 May 2010 after a relatively slower 2009. Critics carped that not enough was happening but in the end Cannes lived up to its promise.

Surprise winners were announced, deals were struck in the market section, the stars descended on and down the famed red carpet and a good selection of films - both in the competition and non-competition section were screened.

Festival managing director Thierry Fremaux and president Giles Jacob are probably pleased as punch.

Kirsten Dunst, Salma Hayek, Diane Kruger, Emmanuel Beart, Juliette Binoche, jury member Kate Beckinsale, president Tim Burton, Woody Allen, Michael Douglas, our own Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Paris Hilton, you name the celeb and they made it to Cannes.

The surprise of the festival was the Thai director-actor Apichatpong Weerasethakul‘s film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives which went on to win the coveted Palme D‘Or. It bypassed frontrunners like Mike Leigh‘s Another Year and Korean films Poetry and Of Gods and Men. Apichatpong‘s work is only the sixth Asian film to win the top prize in the seven decades of the film fest.

The award for best actor was shared by Mexican Javier Bardem (Biutiful) and Italy‘s Elio Germano (Our Life) while Juliette Binoche bagged the best actress award for Iranian film Certified Copy.

French director Mathieu Amalric won the best director award for his film On Tour.
Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun lapped up the jury prize, a mark of special recognition, besides the main awards, for the first film from sub-Saharan Africa, A Screaming Man.

South Korean director Lee Chang-Dong‘s Poetry bagged the best screenplay award while France‘s Of Gods and Men won the Grand Prix award.

The top award in the Un Certain Regard section was bagged by Hong Sangsoo‘s HaHaHa.

India presence

Like every year, India‘s film makers came out in large numbers to Cannes. An official entry of UTV‘s Udaan, the second appearance of Mrinal Sen‘s classic Khandahar and the participation of over 50 Indian companies with more than 150 films to sell, meant that India‘s presence was felt at the film fest.

Prominent participants from the country included UTV Motion Pictures, IDream Independent Pictures (IDIP), Accel Animation Studio, Supreme Communications, Sarthak Movies and many others.

While UTV‘s slate at the event also included films like Peepli Live, Harischandrachi Factory, Paan Singh Tomar and two animation films Arjun and Alibaba and Forty One Thieves, IDIP showcased horror film Fired, Love Sex Aur Dhokha (LSD) and I Am Kalam.

Beyond Illusion, an animation studio under Supreme Communications which came to the market for the first time, showcased its 3D animation musical Return of Shree Krishna.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) worked closely with The Film & Television Producers Guild of India Ltd., Film Federation of India, South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce for the B2B market.

Business deals and acquisitions

Beverly Hills-based production company Marquee Films announced its first production, an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s musical Bombay Dreams, to be directed by Deepa Mehta. Lloyd Webber‘s Really Useful Group will co-produce the film with an undisclosed Indian production partner.

Lorber Films has acquired the North American rights of The Red Chapel, directed by Mads Bruegger. The film, that won the 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize in the World Documentary category, was an official selection in the New Directors/New Films series, presented by MoMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

The distribution house intends to release the film in the US and Canada later this year. This will be followed by television broadcasts for the movie and a DVD release.

IFC Films has teamed up with Sundance Channel for a multi-platform release of Olivier Assayas‘s Carlos that stars Edgar Ramirez in the title role.

Magnet Releasing, a genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, has acquired the world rights of Mandrill, the new action film directed by Ernesto Espinoza.

Meanwhile, Arrow Entertainment has acquired the world rights of Brigitte Berman‘s documentary, Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel that won this year‘s Oscar.
French thespian Gérard Depardieu and newcomer Tahar Rahim joined Emilie Dequenne for Belgian director Joachim Lafosse‘s untitled film.

Luxembourg‘s Iris Productions bought four new films that included Luxembourgian Academy submission Réfractaire, Drake Doremus‘ romantic comedy and Spooner.

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