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Anne Thompson files a fairly exhaustive survey of the American companies and their business objectives going into the Cannes Film Festival and Market. And even if you’re not headed to the Croisette, it’s worth reading as a summary of the state of the indie distribution business. Among the topics Thompson covers are the potential business partners of the Weinstein Brothers, the road ahead for Bob Berney in his new HBO/New Line theatrical distribution outfit, and the strategies of the smaller companies like ThinkFilms and Roadside Attractions. She also comments on likely pick-ups. From the piece:

“Distributors who saw advance screenings of Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies, a Hitchcockian mystery, and James Marsh’s gothic Southern drama The King, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, are awaiting critical response in Cannes before making bids. Martha Fiennes’ Chromophobia, starring her brother Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas, is being screened before it unspools on closing night. Distribs are also tracking several Australian, New Zealand and British flicks at market screenings, including Roger Donaldson’s The World’s Fastest Indian, starring Anthony Hopkins, and Half Light, starring Demi Moore as a mother haunted by the death of her child.

Smaller distributors such as ThinkFilm, IFC Films, Magnolia Pictures and Goldwyn/Roadside will be on the hunt for the more affordable, auteur-driven art films that are in ample supply at Cannes. Among likely foreign titles are the Dardenne brothers’ The Child; Marco Tullio Giordana’s Once You’re Born You Can No Longer Hide; Battle in Heaven, Mexican writer-director Carlos Reygadas’ follow-up to 2002’s Japon; and Korean director Ki-duk Kim’s The Bow,which SPC is tracking after releasing Kim’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring and the current 3-Iron.

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