EXCLUSIVE: After a bidding battle, IFC Films president Arianna Bocco and FilmNation Entertainment CEO Glen Basner received U.S. rights to the Audrey Diwan-directed drama Happening. Diwan wrote the script with Marcia Romano based mostly on Annie Emaux’s semi-autobiographical novel a couple of younger girl whose future is threatened after she turns into pregnant at a time earlier than abortion had been legalized in France. The provocative movie received the Golden Lion at Venice and has the potential to be a zeitgeist image when IFC releases it right here early subsequent yr, as conservative states like Texas move abortion legal guidelines that problem Roe V Wade.
Sources mentioned there have been three different bidders within the combine and a part of the explanation IFC bought the higher hand was its dedication to a full size theatrical window of 45 days in order that the image can construct its viewers. IFC will launch the image early subsequent yr along side FilmNation. In a robust yr for French motion pictures (Cannes sensation Titane is one other), Happening has a robust shot at being the nation’s submission for Best International Film Oscar consideration. After her Venice win, Diwan signed with CAA as a filmmaker, and CAA Media Finance and Wild Bunch brokered the U.S. deal. Wild Bunch International is dealing with worldwide gross sales.
Diwan’s movie was the unanimous selection from the jury that included current Oscar winners Bong Joon Ho and Chloé Zhao. Happening was produced by Rectangle Productions’ Édouard Weil (Declaration of War, Love, Climax, Vortex) and co-produced by Srab Films (Les Miserables).
The movie is about in France, 1963. Anne [Anamaria Vartolomei] is a shiny younger scholar with a promising future forward of her. But when she falls pregnant, she sees the chance to complete her research and escape the constraints of her social background disappearing. With her remaining exams quick approaching and her stomach rising, Anne resolves to behave, even when she has to confront disgrace and ache, even when she should danger jail to take action.
Diwan acknowledged that the movie may very well be provocative when she co-wrote and directed it, however didn’t notice its relevance to the second.,
“It’s strange but also predictable,” she instructed Deadline. “Whenever you do something about abortion, you know it will get noticed., I didn’t expect at all what happened in Texas. When I first read what was going on in Texas, I was on my way to Venice. When I started writing, we had people asking why to talk about this now, as [abortion] is legal in France. I always felt I wanted it to make as an experience that could be shared. Not regarding the period of time, or the gender. My first surprise was that we could share and discuss this experience, whether women or men. As for controversial, I don’t know, I think it has opened discussion and I love the idea we are not only talking about abortion but also about freedom. Because the movie is talking about freedom, about desire and what we can do and expect, being women. It was a joyful experience to see that it is possible to discuss it. The first screening, there was a young guy who spoke when we had a debate after. He said, he grew up in a very Catholic place where they were all against abortion and he said, now I’m not sure anymore. It wasn’t about controversial; it was about having a discussion and that is what I hoped for that experience.” She mentioned the necessity for this dialogue goes additional than the US however international locations like Poland as properly.
Said IFC’s Bocco: “Audrey has crafted an award-winning movie that places a face on the alternatives girls need to make, attaining one thing extremely uncommon and rewarding in its highly effective depiction of humanity. We look ahead to working with Audrey, Glen and your entire filmmaking staff to deliver this movie to the widest viewers potential within the US.
“Winning the Golden Lion has given the film a worldwide platform and we are able to take that platform and bring it to the United States,” she mentioned. “Hopefully, France will choose the film as its entry to represent the country, and we can not only build an awards campaign for when we got out in late winter and early spring, but Audrey will come and be able to meet press, talk to people, have screenings. I think it’s important that Audrey be the point person for the film and talk about it in the eloquent way she speaks to this film. I think it will resonate with audiences. We want the conversation, we don’t want to be telling people what to think. Starting the conversation is something we’ve always done at IFC and that has attracted us to this kind of material. We’re so excited to start the process. I think the film is really going to make an impact in the United States. The protest that happened over the weekend, and the fact the first case the Supreme Court is going to take on is a challenge to Roe V Wade, it’s a delicate balance not to politicize the movie. But it is political and we want to make sure that we’re getting to audiences so they can feel what Audrey intended as the filmmaker.”
Bocco mentioned it’s the sort of movie that received’t be restricted to a 45-day theatrical run. It might go longer.
“It will be a traditional theatrical but it could be longer than 45 days,” she mentioned. “What we’re looking at is a new world where the minimum traditional theatrical window is 45 days now. But the plan is to do an aggressive platform release and the goal is to get it out to as many theaters in the United States as possible. Particularly in Texas and cities we can do some real grassroots campaigns in.”
FilmNation often builds its motion pictures from scratch, however made Happening an exception.
“This is definitely not part of our everyday business at FilmNation,” Basner instructed Deadline. “When I saw the film, I was just blown away by it. We’ve talked about how timely it is, but for me, it was such an emotional experience because it took the idea of freedom, and the right to choose, and put it into such human and intimate terms. The way the camera followed the character, it was just a totally different way of conversing about this subject matter and I just had to find a way to be involved. I called up Arianna to see if there was any way we could help and she gracefully found a way for us to collaborate.”
IFC has an extended historical past of supporting and releasing movies from European filmmakers, from Palme d’Or winners Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Color to Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan, in addition to one of many Dardenne Brothers’ profession highest grossing movie Two Days, One Night. IFC had three Cannes buzz movies this yr, together with Mia Hansen-Løve’s Bergman Island, set to launch this month, in addition to the brand new Audiard Paris, thirteenth District, and the Paul Verhoeven-directed Benedetta.