Genre market Frontières Platform (May 12-13), the co-presentation between the Fantasia International Film Festival and Cannes Marché du Film, will this year feature projects from Denis Côté, Ben Wheatley and Can Evrenol. The Frontières Buyers Showcase (Sunday May 13 at 4pm in Palais K) will feature 6 films, with producers screening footage for potential buyers, sales agents and festival programmers. The lineup includes Denis Côtés (Vic + Flo Saw A Bear) Ghost Town Anthology, Jovanka Vuckovics (XX) Riot Girls, which is handled by XYZ in the U.S., and Antonio Tublens (LFO) Zoo, which is handled by Seville International. The proof of concept presentation on Saturday May 12 will include Girl Without A Mouth, the new film from Baskin director Can Evrenol, and Casey Walkers UK-Canadian project Whitaker, produced by Andy Starke, Pete Tombs and Free Fire director Ben Wheatley for Rook Films alongside Jonathan Bronfman (The Witch).
Wild Bunch has acquired French rights to Mamoru Hosodas Directors Fortnight-bound animation Mirai and will release later this year. The team behind the movie has also released a first-look image of the project. Animation maestro Hosoda (The Boy And The Beast) will be the first Japanese animation director to present a world premiere on the Croisette. Mirai charts the story of a four-year-old boy who feels his place in his parents affections threatened by the arrival of a baby sister until she reveals herself to be a girl from the future. Hosodas studio Studio Chizu produces while Toho will release in Japan this July. Charades handles sales and has already sold the title to the U.S. (GKids), Spain (A Contracorriente), the U.K./Ireland (Anime Limited), Italy (Dynit), Canada (MK2 Mile End), Germany (AV Visionen), Latin America (KEM), Turkey (Filma), Benelux (Cineart), CIS (Exponenta), Hungary (Mozinet), Ex-Yugoslavia (Radar), the Middle East (Selim Ramia and Co) and Australia/New Zealand (Madman). Pic will be titled Mirai, Ma Petite Soeur in France.
Meanwhile, ahead of Cannes Scandi sales powerhouse TrustNordisk has picked up international sales rights to Paradise War (working title), the biopic of Swiss activist Bruno Manser who disappeared in the Borneo rainforest in the early 1980s. Niklaus Hilber directs the feature about Mansers journey into the Borneo jungle to live with the nomadic Penan tribe. When the existence of the Penan is threatened by relentless deforestation, the environmentalist takes up the fight against logging companies but pays the ultimate sacrifice. Swiss-based A Film Company produces the movie which stars Sven Schelker (The Circle) as Manser. The film was shot in Switzerland, New York, Budapest and Borneo. Ascot Elite handles distribution of the Swiss-Austrian co-pro in Switzerland.
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.