Well, this is it, folks. Time to talk about one of the most important film events of the year — the Cannes Film Festival — and which buzzy titles are up for grabs this year.
There’s a hot package starring Chris Hemsworth and Tiffany Haddish titled “Down Under Cover.” Roland Emmerich directs a sci-fi project called “Moonfall.” Newly minted Oscar winner Olivia Colman stars with Anthony Hopkins in a drama called “The Father.” And Anthony Mackie reunites with “Avengers” co-star Samuel L. Jackson in “The Banker,” while the Russo Brothers reteam with Tom Holland for “Cherry.”
This year’s lineup features everything from space odysseys to WWII dramas to rom-coms to political dramas. Some directors are heading back to the Croisette for their sixth time to compete (“Oh Mercy!” director Arnaud Desplechin), while others, like Florian Zeller, are traveling to the French Riviera town for the first time.
Needless to say, we’re anticipating a fiery sales market this year. See below for the buzziest sales titles hitting the Croisette.
“Dinner With Friends”
Malin Akerman, Kat Dennings and Jane Seymour star in “Dinner With Friends,” formerly titled “Friendsgiving,” directed by Nicol Paone. And with Ben Stiller being a producer on the film, we can hope for a solid family comedy a la “Meet the Parents.”
The name explains it all: “Dinner With Friends” is about two friends who host a Thanksgiving dinner for their dysfunctional group of friends.
Endeavor Content is repping worldwide sales.
First-time feature director Florian Zeller is directing “The Father,” which stars Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman, fresh off her Oscars win for “The Favourite.” “The Father” follows a daughter who is forced to place her father in an assisted-living facility when he can’t separate reality from fantasy anymore.
UTA and CAA are handling North American sales, while Embankment is handling international sales.
“Down Under Cover”
In what is possibly the hottest package heading to Cannes this year is “Down Under Cover,” starring Chris Hemsworth and Tiffany Haddish.
The buddy cop drama is written by Peter Hoare and stars Hemsworth as a detective who goes undercover to investigate a group of male, Australian exotic dancers who he suspects are involved in a series of casino heists. Haddish will play a lone wolf cop who Hemsworth reluctantly accepts as a partner.
CAA is introducing the package to domestic buyers at Cannes, while FilmNation is handling international sales.
“Young Ahmed” is a competition title at this year’s festival from the Dardenne Brothers, who won the Palme d’Or in both 1999 and 2005. “Young Ahmed” is their 11th film and follows a 13-year-old boy from Belgium named Ahmed, who wrestles with a plot to kill his teacher after he embraces an extremist interpretation of the Quran. Idir Ben Addi, Olivier Bonnaud, Myriem Akheddiou, Victoria Bluck, Claire Bodson, and Othmane Moumen star in the foreign-language drama in both French and Arabic.
CAA is handling sales.
“Independence Day” director Roland Emmerich is returning to space for one of the biggest projects to be presented at the Cannes Film Festival market, titled “Moonfall.”
Emmerich will co-write the film with Harald Kloser and Spenser Cohen. The story is a sci-fi action epic in which a ragtag team of astronauts is forced to land on the moon’s surface when the moon is knocked out of Earth’s orbit, sending it hurtling on a collision course with Earth and threatening all of mankind.
Stuart Ford’s AGC Studios and CAA Media Finance jointly handling worldwide sales.
“A Hidden Life”
Who wouldn’t be excited for a Terrence Malick WW2 movie? “A Hidden Life” is having its world premiere in the official competition section of Cannes, and follows Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jagerstatter, who refuses to fight for the Third Reich and is then executed by them in 1943.
CAA is repping sales.
Lucas Hedges has proven himself to be a big indie player in recent years, with films like “Manchester by the Sea,” “Ben Is Back,” “Boy Erased,” “Lady Bird” and, of course, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” That’s why we’re excited to see that Hedges is in another festival film, this time starring with Michelle Pfeiffer.
The dark comedy is directed by Azazel Jacobs.
CAA is co-repping North American sales with Cinetic Media. Rocket Science is handling international sales.
“One Thousand Paper Cranes”
Evan Rachel Wood is starring in “One Thousand Paper Cranes,” which is the story of Hiroshima survivor Sadako Sasaki and author Eleanor Coerr, who wrote the bestselling children’s book “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.”
Richard Raymond is directing the story that follows Sasaki, who was just two years old when the bomb was dropped in 1945. She later was diagnosed with leukemia but drew inspiration from a Japanese legend that she said if she folded 1,000 paper cranes, she would be granted a wish.
CAA is handling North American rights.
Twenty-six years after the original “Cliffhanger” debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, Neal Moritz’s long-awaited reboot is heading to the Croisette. Ana Lily Amirpour is directing, and casting is underway for the big package that is promising to be one of the buzziest projects for sale this year. Added bonus: Jason Momoa is in talks for a cameo.
CAA reps the North American and Chinese distribution rights. Rocket Science is handling international sales.
Ben Foster has been a big festival player in recent years, with films like “Hell or High Water” debuting at Cannes three years ago, “Leave No Trace” premiering at Sundance last year and “Galveston” premiering at SXSW last year as well. We’re happy to report that he is back with “Harry Haft,” alongside Billy Magnussen, Danny DeVito and Peter Sarsgaard — a solid crew right there.
“Rain Man” director Barry Levinson is directing “Harry Haft,” which follows famous boxer Harry Haft, who fought fellow prisoners in the concentration camps to survive. He later became a professional boxer in post-war Germany and the United States.
Endeavor Content is handling worldwide and U.S. sales.
“Oh Mercy!” — or its French title “Roubaix, une lumiere” — is directed by Arnaud Desplechin, who already was part of the main competition jury of the festival in 2016, and has competed in the festival himself five times. He’s one of France’s most famous contemporary directors.
“Oh Mercy!” takes place one Christmas night in Roubaix, Daoud, where two French police officers are confronted with a violent murder of an elderly woman.
CAA is handling sales.
“The Other Lamb”
“The Other Lamb” is literally being described as “The Witch” meets “Black Swan.” Are you in yet, or do we have to add that Michiel Huisman stars in it?
The film follows a young woman who comes of age in a repressive religious cult, but she quickly grows skeptical of her leader. Raffey Cassidy and Denise Gough also star in the film directed by Malgorzata Szumowska.
UTA is repping North American sales, while TrustNordisk is handling international sales.
“Sorry We Missed You”
Ken Loach, the famed British director of “Kes” and “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” returns to the Croisette for the first time in three years since his drama “I, Daniel Blake” won the Palme d’Or in 2016. His latest is another British working-class drama about a family that has struggled financially since the 2008 financial crash. Ricky, the father of the family, is given a second chance as a self-employed delivery driver when he lucks into a shiny new van. Loach is reuniting with writer Paul Laverty and producer Rebecca O’Brien.
eOne claimed distribution rights in the U.K. and Ireland for 2019 release, and Wild Bunch is handling international sales.
“The Broken Heart Gallery”
Dacre Montgomery and Geraldine Viswanathan star in this romantic comedy directed by Natalie Krinsky (“Gossip Girl,” “Grey’s Anatomy”). “The Broken Heart Gallery” follows Lucy (Viswanathan), a born collector, who goes through a bad breakup with a man who also happens to be her boss at the Whitney Museum. She then curates The Broken Heart Gallery in the lobby of a stranger’s (Montgomery) hotel.
Montgomery was a breakout star of the second season of “Stranger Things,” while Viswanathan starred in the hit comedy “Blockers” and Sundance film “Hala.” We’re excited to see what the two cook up together on screen.
Endeavor Content is handling worldwide sales.
Tom Holland is teaming up with the Russo Brothers after “Avengers: Endgame” for “Cherry.” AGBO acquired the rights to Nico Walker’s book of the same name in August. It follows the author’s true-life story as a former Army medic who returned from Iraq with extreme undiagnosed PTSD. He fell into an opioid addiction and began robbing banks, and was caught and convicted in 2011.
Endeavor Content is handling worldwide sales.
“5B” is a documentary about a hospital wing in San Francisco that was one of the first opened to care for victims of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early ’80s. Information about how the disease was spread was still very new, and the caregivers in San Francisco’s General Hospital demonstrated remarkable compassion and courage in helping afflicted patients. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Dan Krauss (“Extremis”) directs the documentary that Verizon Media, with the help of Julianne Moore, acquired for release in April.
DDA PR is repping sales.
George Nolfi, who has written the screenplays for some of your favorite action thrillers, is directing “The Banker,” starring Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson and Nicholas Hoult. “The Banker” is about the first African-American bankers in the United States.
Endeavor Content and ICM Partners are handling U.S. titles for the film. International buyers snatched up some of the rights during the Berlin Film Festival in February.
Isla Fisher and Matt Walsh’s comedy “Unplugging” is heading to the Cannes Film Festival as well. Walsh penned the script for the project, which is Debra Neil-Fisher’s directorial debut. She’s been an editor on films like “Fifty Shades Freed” and “The Hangover” series.
“Unplugging” follows Dan and Jeanine Dewerson, who don’t really have that much spark in their relationship anymore. Their daughter only focuses on her iPad. So Dan plans a quiet, relaxing weekend in a remote mountain town with no kids, no phones and no social media. Of course, everything goes crazy as cranky locals and strong edibles get thrown in the mix.
Radiant Film International will handle foreign sales at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival; The Gersh Agency and UTA Independent will co-represent domestic sales.