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Cannes Market - Triangle of Sadness, Holy Spider among hottest festival titles

27 MAY 2022

Nordic Film Stand, Scandinavian House, Cannes 2022 / PHOTO: Annika Pham

Ruben Östlund and Ali Abbasi’s films were grabbed respectively by Neon and Utopia for North America following bidding wars. Elsewhere genre movies strived.

Just as the market drew to a close on Wednesday, the Swedish rollercoaster experience Triangle of Sadness and Iran-set Danish crime Holy Spider sealed some of Cannes’s most sensational deals.

On Tuesday The Co-production Office announced the acquisition of Östlund’s satire by US top indie distributor Neon for a reported $8 million.

Earlier deals were closed with more than 30 territories, notably with the UK (Curzon), France (Bac Films), Germany and Austria (Alamode), Benelux (September Films), Italy (Teodora), Spain (Avalon), and Poland (Gutek).


Cannes Market - Triangle of Sadness, Holy Spider among hottest festival titles

Triangle of Sadness, Charlbi Dean, Harris Dickinson / PHOTO: Courtesy Fredrik Wenzel, Plattform Produktion

Holy Spider for its part was sold by Wild Bunch to New-York based Utopia, co-founded in 2019 by musician and director Robert Schwartzman, nephew of Francis Ford Coppola.

Speaking to ‘Deadline’, the company’s head of content Danielle DiGiacomo - a big fan of Abbasi’s earlier genre film Border, said her team “obsessively” chased it until they closed, beating other US bidders.

Holy Spider Trailer

Both titles were among the festival’s most buzzed about competition entries for their thought-provoking subject matters and shocking scenes.

Triangle of Sadness is a social satire of the mega-rich and capitalistic system, with a climax scene with vomiting and flying shit, which provoked loud laughters, followed by an 8-minute standing ovation at the official screening on Saturday. Meanwhile Abbasi’s Persian-language Holy Spider which points the figure at Iran’s cultural misogyny through the story of a serial killer, created walks outs due to some graphic scenes, but also warm applauds.

Meanwhile the third Nordic Palme d’or contender Boy from Heaven by Swedish director Tarik Saleh was sold by Memento Film International to top indie UK distributor and exhibitor Picturehouse for the UK and Ireland. Seasoned UK distributor Clare Binns of Picturehouse, described Boy From Heaven to screendaily as “a gripping and exciting film from an excellent filmmaker.”


Cannes Market - Triangle of Sadness, Holy Spider among hottest festival titles

Boy From Heaven / PHOTO: Atmo Rights AB d

At press time, a couple of competition entries were still awaiting their world premiere in Cannes, but hopes were high for the Nordics to retain the jury’s main competition attention, the way Compartment No6 by Juho Kuosmanen (Grand Prix) and The Worst Person in the World by Joachim Trier (Best Actress for Renate Reinsve) did a few months ago. Trier is in fact sitting on the jury together with Swedish actress Noomi Rapace.

The Un Certain Regard entries Godland by Hlynur Pálmason and Sick of Myself by Kristoffer Borgli both received strong reviews in Cannes, but at press time no recent sale was announced by their respective sales reps New Europe Film Sales and Memento Film International.

Earlier deals on the Icelandic-set epic Godland were announced before the festival, notably with France’s Jour2Fete, Benelux’s Imagine, Poland’s New Horizons Association and Australia/New Zealand’s Palace.

Among key sales companies of Nordic films, REinvent (representing SF Studios’ feature films) and LevelK reported sales mostly on their genre movies.

LevelK pre-sold the Finnish horror flick The Knocking to Latin America and German-speaking territories (Alamode Film) with negotiations still being finalised elsewhere.


Cannes Market - Triangle of Sadness, Holy Spider among hottest festival titles

The Knocking / PHOTO: Courtesy Solar Film Inc, LevelK

The Danish thriller The Last Client was sold to Viaplay for the US, Canada & UK, Koch Media for Germany, Austria, Italy, Frenetic for Switzerland, Swift Distribution for France, Big Tree Entertainment Private Ltd for India and Estin Film for Estonia.

The Sundance winning film Girl Picture has now been sold to nearly 30 territories including the US (Strand Releasing), Canada (Photon Films), the UK/ Ireland (Vertigo Releasing), Japan (Medallion Media), Germany, Austria, Switzerland (RTL in collaboration with Salzgeber & Co Medien), Italy (I Wonder Pictures), Spain, and Benelux (Cinemien).


Cannes Market - Triangle of Sadness, Holy Spider among hottest festival titles

Girl Picture, tytot tytot tytot / PHOTO: Nordiskfilm Fi

Reinvent International Sales reported the following sales:

  • UFO Sweden, sold to Germany (Telepool), Spain (A Contracorriente Films) and Hungary (Vertigo).
  • Comedy Queen sold to Benelux (In the Air), France (Les Films Du Preau), Spain (Yoda Films), Poland (Vivarto), Hungary (ADS Service), Lithuania (Scanorama) and the former Yugoslavia (Fivia).
  • Leave sold to Latin America (Gussi), Falcon Films (MENA) and Hungary (Vertigo).
  • The Emigrants sold to UK & Ireland (Signature Entertainment), Spain (Filmin), Poland (Vivarto), Hungary (Vertigo), Czech Republic and Slovakia (Film Europe), former Yugoslavia (MCF MegaCom).
  • Nothing sold to Spain (A Contracorriente), Hungary (Vertigo) and Poland (Vivarto).

“It was a great Cannes and fantastic to see so many people in real. We are very proud of our line-up that attracted a lot of buyers to our stand,” said Helene Aurø, Sales and Marketing Director.


Cannes Market - Triangle of Sadness, Holy Spider among hottest festival titles

Reinvent International Sales, Cannes 2022, Helene Aurø / PHOTO: Annika Pham

At press time, TrustNordisk was still going through its sales memos, but the company reported on Wednesday fresh deals with major territories for the Mads Mikkelsen vehicle The King’s Land, pre-sold to Germany (Koch Films), France (The Jokers Films), Benelux (September Films) and Hungary (Vertigo Media).

The upcoming film directed by Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) will be distributed in the Nordics by Nordisk Film late 2023. (See our start of production story on The King’s Land CLICK HERE).


Cannes Market - Triangle of Sadness, Holy Spider among hottest festival titles

The Kings Land, (Kongens Land), Nikolaj Arcel, Amanda Collin, Mads Mikkelsen / PHOTO: Annika Pham

Commenting on market trends, TrustNordisk CEO Susan Wendt said Cannes had been busy, although mid-range titles, especially those produced during the pandemic, continue to suffer, a trend initiated before Covid. “Otherwise, people are buying again” said the sales veteran, who enjoyed good foot traffic at her Cannes apartment, with more representatives from each company than anticipated. “A lot of Asians were missing but other than that, people were super happy to be back,” said Wendt.

Cannes 2022 was also a landmark year for Nordic film professionals in Cannes who after 30 years of mingling at 55 La Croisette inaugurated a new venue - the Scandinavian House’ at 11 Square Mérimée, across the Palais des Festivals.

On the closing day of the market, Jaana Puskala, Head of International at the Finnish Film Foundation and Christof Wehmeier, Head of Promotion at the Icelandic Film Centre said overall views from Nordic film professionals were very positive regarding the location, but negative regarding the acoustic.

The organising promotional umbrella Scandinavian Films was meant to evaluate the Nordic film industry’s responses before re-booking next year’s Nordic home in Cannes.

The Cannes Film Festival’s awards ceremony will take place on Saturday evening. Fingers crossed!