Cannes is still big for film deals as well as stars

Wed May 20, 2015 9:05am EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - Fashion designer and director Tom Ford whisked into Cannes and a roomful of potential investors in his latest movie, who were treated to spritzes of one of his perfumes.

He waltzed back out again with, according to trade media, a staggering $20 million for the rights to distribute "Nocturnal Animals", a film in pre-production that hasn't yet been shot.

Cannes is not only one of the world's most prestigious film festivals. The Marche du Film (Film Market) - a forum for attracting financing for new films and selling movie rights - which runs simultaneously, is one of the must-go events for big money, the major studio wheelers and dealers, and the smaller fry who keep the world supplied with thousands of films every year.

There are recurring rumors of the death of European film markets associated with festivals like Cannes and, on a lesser scale, Berlin, but there are plenty of green shoots on La Croisette this year.

"It's certainly not a flat edition of the Cannes market, there's plenty of activity, different types of activity," Nick Vivarelli, a reporter for trade publication Variety, said.

Ford's "Nocturnal Animals", which will star Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal, tells the story of a woman interpreting dark meanings in a novel written by her ex-husband.

The director's coup in bagging Focus Features, an offshoot of Universal Pictures, to buy the worldwide rights last week was the big headline for the trade publications, but a lot more was going on at the Cannes market this year.

Michael Garin, CEO of Abu Dhabi-based Image Nation, said Cannes had generated significant interest for IM's film version of Dave Eggers's novel "The Circle".   Continued...

Photographers work on the red carpet during guests arrivals for the screening of the film "Marguerite et Julien" in competition at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, May 19, 2015.             REUTERS/Regis Duvignau