Magazine article Screen International

Nadine Labaki's 'Capernaum' Racks Up Sales for Wild Bunch (Exclusive)

Magazine article Screen International

Nadine Labaki's 'Capernaum' Racks Up Sales for Wild Bunch (Exclusive)

Article excerpt

Buyers flock to Lebanese director’s film exploring child neglect ahead of Cannes Competition premiere.


French sales powerhouse Wild Bunch has unveiled a raft of deals on Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s buzzy third film Capernaum ahead of its world premiere in Competition on Thursday (May 17).

Inspired by Labaki’s own research into child neglect, the feature revolves around a 12-year-old boy with a miserable life who decides to sue his parents for bringing him into the world. The director shot the film in Lebanon but says the picture she paints could unfold anywhere in the world.

Key deals include to France (Gaumont), Italy (Lucky Red), Japan (Kino Films), Scandinavia (Scanbox Entertainment), Benelux (Cinéart), China (Road Pictures) and the UK (Picturehouse).

As announced earlier in the market, Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) has acquired North American and Latin American rights and is also planning an awards-qualifying release in December.

The film has been one of the buzz titles in Competition this year for buyers, sparking bidding wars in a number of territories including France where around eight distributors expressed strong interest in the picture.

It marks a rare arthouse acquisition for Gaumont, for example, which usually focuses its distribution efforts on in-house productions.

“Some buyers have likened it to Chaplin’s The Kid,” said Wild Bunch co-chief Vincent Maraval. “It’s a small film, made on a tiny budget, which has reached the hearts of buyers.”

Labaki and her husband, composer Khaled Mouzanar, lead produced the film under their Mooz Films banner.

Rushed into production

In an interview with Screen ahead of the premiere on Thursday, Mouzanar revealed they rushed to kick off the shoot without the full budget in place on learning that one of their key locations was about to be demolished. …

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