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Cannes Report, Day 1: ‘Sea of Trees’ With Matthew McConaughey Sold; Coen Brothers, Sienna Miller Arrive for Jury Duty

Strong festival response to ”La Tete Haute,“ deals for Gus Van Sant and Ross Patridge also mark 2015 festival opener

The A-list parade of Cannes 2015 stars will feature Cate Blanchett, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Emily Blunt and Colin Farrell lighting up the French Riviera, but first thing’s first: jury duty.

The 68th Cannes Film Festival jury gathered for a conference off the Croisette on Wednesday afternoon to discuss first timers, film selections and their relationships with critics, as acting legend Ingrid Bergman loomed over the panel on a projected poster.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Sophie Marceau, Rokia Traore, Sienna Miller and Rossy De Palma, Guillermo Del Toro and jury presidents Ethan Coen and Joel Coen smiled against a backdrop of overcast skies before taking questions from the press.

“Ingrid Bergman represents us all as actors,” said “American Sniper” star Miller, who is a Cannes newcomer. The Coen brothers, top of the food chain when it comes to handing out prizes to the fest’s best films, talked about their personal relationship with movie critics. Or did not, it turns out, as Joel said “that’s a subject I’d rather personally not get into.”


Opening Night
Emmanuelle Bercot’s “La Tete Haute” stars French movie icon Catherine Deneuve, and is already receiving universal praise for breakout actor Rod Paradot, who plays a young delinquent mentored by a judge (Deneuve).

Films screening for competition include the Japanese manga “Umimachi Diary” and the ensemble “The Tale of Tales,” which stars Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, John C. Riley and Toby Jones. Based on the short stories of Giambattista Basile, the film made waves in late April when still and a teaser clip touted gorgeous but gory imagery.

Cannes Deals of Day
Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees” has been acquired by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions. A Palme d’Or contender, “Trees” follows Arthur Brennan (Matthew McConaughey) on a journey into Aokigahara, a mysterious forest at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji where people go to contemplate life and death.

The Orchard has acquired Ross Partridge’s “Lamb,” a SXSW title about “a man who forms a bond with a young girl (newcomer Oona Laurence) and coaxes her into joining him for a week at his rural hideaway.”  Eyeing an early 2106 release, the film counts producers Mel Eslyn and Taylor Williams and executive producers Partridge and William Ruch. The deal was negotiated by The Orchard’s Danielle DiGiacomo and ICM Partners.

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