With an entire market full of films, projects and productions, all looking to pick up distribution deals, Cannes is still the very best place for buyers to find a film worth acquiring. However, there are only a few that have studios and execs buzzing around. Here’s our selection of the thirteen titles that are going to start bidding wars along this year’s Croisette.
* All the films below are currently seeking US distributors.
1. Bird People
Director: Pascale Ferran
Stars: Josh Charles, Radha Mitchell, Mathieu Amalric, Anaïs Demoustier
While all that the industry has seen so far of this potentially unsung masterpiece is a teaser trailer, we are certain that this little film is about to start ruffling some feathers. Co-scripted in French and English, it is about an American engineer who checks into a Paris hotel and decides to drastically alter his existence as well as a young French chambermaid who has a supernatual experience that also changes her life. All the while, a bunch of specially trained real life birds look set to steal the film from the human stars.
2. Goodbye World
Director: Denis Hennelly
Stars: Adrien Grenier, Scott Mescudi, Mckenna Grace, Ben McKenzie
With a premise straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster, Goodbye World envisages the collapse of society as a bit more of a whimper than the average Michael Bay movie. When civilisation starts to crumble due to a text message that quickly spreads a virus around the world, survivalist James Palmer invites his friends into his solar powered house but comes under threat from those outside who want to get in to the safety of his home.
3. Closer To The Moon
Director: Nae Caranfil
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Mark Strong, Harry Lloyd, Joe Armstrong
Hilarious, exciting and quite possibly heartfelt in equal measure, this film from Romania has snagged itself a couple of big stars thanks to its brilliant central idea of having a police officer team up with bank robbers to pull off a heist by convincing everyone at the scene of the crime that all they are witnessing is the shooting of a movie.
Director: Kat Candler
Stars: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins
Another opportunity to see a post-Breaking Bad Aaron Paul in action after the disappointing double bill of A Long Way Down and Need for Speed, Hellion looks like it might actually allow Paul to flex those excellent acting muscles once again. Paul plays a single father whose youngest son is taken from him by child protection services and must learn to take responsibility for his own actions and those of his oldest son if he is to ever get his child returned.
5. White Bird In A Blizzard
Director: Gregg Araki
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Gabourey Sidibe, Thomas Jane, Angela Bassett
Director Gregg Araki bags a brilliant cast for his latest about a young girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother disappears in 1988. The always excellent Shailene Woodley and Eva Green are backed by a starry supporting cast and the eighties setting is bound to prove atmospheric in what could be a potentially big crossover for the indie auteur Araki.
6. Walking With The Enemy
Director: Mark Schmidt
Stars: Jonas Armstrong, Ben Kingsley, Burn Gorman, Ralph Brown
Epic scale, epic emotions and Burn Gorman in a role he looks like he was born for. Anyone who has seen the distinctive facial features of Gorman (or his recent appearance in Game of Thrones) will know this guy was made to play monsters. So in this tale of a man who pretends to be a Nazi after his homeland of Hungary is invaded, Gorman looks set to pull serious bad guy duties. Ben Kingsley also stars in a film that is certain to stir emotions.
7. Song One
Director: Kate Barker-Froyland
Stars: Anne Hathaway, Mary Steenburgen, Ben Rosenfield
There isn’t much to go on with this one yet but with Anne Hathaway starring, there is bound to be a degree of interest in seeing it at the festival after it also screened at Sundance. Hathaway plays a young archaeologist who becomes romantically entwined with her favorite musician after she returns home from a dig to see her injured brother. Mary Steenburgen is the mother who resents Hathaway’s long periods away from home in this mournful, romantic drama.
8. Wild Canaries
Director: Lawrence Michael Levine
Stars: Sophia Takal, Lawrence Michael Levine, Alia Shawkat
Boasting a fresh comedic take on film noir, a Brooklyn couple suspect foul play is afoot after their elderly neighbour drops dead. Barri (Sophia Takal) teams up with her roommate Jean (Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat) to catch the killer but it soon seems as though everyone in the building is a suspect.
Director: Atom Egoyan
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, Mireille Enos, Kevin Durand
Playing in competition at Cannes this year, director Atom Egoyan returns to the sinister snowscapes that made his 1997 classic The Sweet Hereafter so powerful. Only this time instead of a bus full of dead school children, there is only one missing child and Ryan Reynolds plays the father determined to get to the bottom of the mysterious disappearance of his daughter.
10. These Final Hours
Director: Zak Hilditch
Stars: Nathan Phillips, Sarah Snook, Jessica De Gouw
From Australia comes another vision of the apocalypse as a young self-obsessed man named James finds himself torn between attending the party to end all parties or returning a lost little girl to her father. With impending doom approaching, James must earn his redemption even as the end of the world is only hours away.
11. The Great Hypnotist
Director: Leste Chen
Stars: Karen Mok, Zheng Xu
A Chinese mystery thriller about a psychologist who has a rising career until he meets a troublesome patient.
12. Still The Water
Director: Naomi Kawase
Stars: Miyuki Matsuda, Jun Murakami
In competition for the Palm D’Or, this Japanese romance takes place on the subtropical Japanese island of Amami. Here a 16-year-old boy discovers a dead body floating in the sea and with the help of his girlfriend Kyoko must find a way to understand the mysterious discovery. Expect this to be absolutely beautiful.
Director: Andrey Zvyaginstev
Stars: Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Aleksey Serebryakov
After his excellent debut in 2003, The Return, Andrey Zvyaginstev offers a present day social drama with multiple characters that explores human insecurity in not only a new country, but on earth entirely.
About the Author
Pete Turner is a Senior Reporter