Cannes prizewinner sells in 43 countries
The first homegrown French movie in two decades, The Class, has been sold in 43 countries with talks under way in dozen more.29 May 2008
PARIS - The Class, a film shot in a rough Parisian classroom that picked up the Palme d'Or prize at Cannes, has sold in 43 countries with talks under way in dozens more, its French distributor said Wednesday.
"The film has sold in 43 countries. Right now we are in negotiations with the rest of the planet," said Emilie Georges, director of Memento Films International.
Based on a best-selling novel by French teacher Francois Begaudeau, "The Class" on Sunday became the first homegrown French movie in two decades to claim the coveted top prize at the Cannes film festival, the world's biggest cinema showcase.
"It completely changes the way people see the film," Georges said.
Distributors in the 43 countries who bought the movie before Sunday's ceremony signed a so-called bumper clause agreeing to pay a bonus if the film received a major award.
On the 30-odd deals currently at the negotiating stage - including with "several major firms" in the United States - Georges said the Palme d'Or had more than doubled the amount of the advance payment.
For US distributors, she said, a top award at Cannes is seen as turning the film into potential Oscar or Golden Globe material.
"That is really the territory where a Palme d'Or has a tremendous impact."
Set for release in France on October 15, the movie is expected to hit screens across Europe in the following weeks.
So far it is not being circulated on DVD to markets further afield, for fear of piracy.
Shot by director Laurent Cantet, the film takes a hard look at a year in a multicultural school through the eyes of a teacher. Its relevance has been pointed up by ongoing street protests by French school students and teachers against cutbacks.
[AFP / Expatica]