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Cannes: FilmNation Sells Out Internationally on ‘Disobedience,’ Untitled Julianne Moore Project (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 5/23/2017 John Hopewell
© Provided by Variety

CANNES — Continuing to work with world-class directors from across the globe, Glen Basner’s FilmNation Entertainment has sold most of the world on its double bill of upcoming English-language movies from Sebastian Lelio: Romantic drama “Disobedience,” currently in post-production, starring Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz, Academy Award nominee Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola; and Lelio’s untitled film with Academy Award winner Julianne Moore, in a reimagining of his critically-acclaimed Berlinale 2015 smash hit “Gloria,” which is currently in pre-production.

”We feel very fortunate to work with Sebastian [Lelio] and some amazing producers on two truly special films.  This is proof positive that excellence and boldness in film can still guarantee a filmmaker world class distribution,” said Glen Basner, FilmNation CEO. 

As proof, “Disobedience” has been acquired by Curzon Artificial Eye for the U.K., Roadshow for Australia, Mars for France, Cinema SRL for Italy, Lev for Israel, and Pathe for Switzerland.

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group (SPWAG) has acquired multiple territories including Germany, Spain, Japan, CIS, South Korea, Benelux, Latin America, Greece, Portugal, Portugal, Turkey, all of Asia and South Africa. 

Many of the same distributors have also acquired rights to the untitled Julianne Moore project: Curzon Artificial Eye for the UK, Roadshow for Australia, Mars for France; Cinema SRL for Italy, The Searchers for Benelux, Kino Films for Japan, Lev for Israel, and Elite Film for Switzerland.

Sony (SPWAG) took multiple territories including Spain, Latin America, Portugal, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, CIS, Greece, Turkey, South Africa, Asia (including Taiwan and South Korea) and the Middle East.

Rolling off a fantastic reception for “A Fantastic Woman” at this February’s Berlinale, the pre-sales on the two FilmNation titles establish the Chile-born Lelio as one of international’s hottest new talents as he drives into English-language filmmaking.

“Disobedience” also shows FilmNation, which is able to board projects at  at every stage of production from financing to producing and international distribution, boarding a movie early, co-financing “Disobedience” with Film4 in  the U.K. 

Written by Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz (“Ida”), “Disobedience” is based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Naomi Alderman which follows a woman (Weisz) who returns to her Orthodox Jewish home after learning about the death of her estranged father. Her rekindling of a repressed love for her best friend – a woman now married to her cousin, played by McAdams – causes upheaval in the community.

The film was produced by Frida Torresblanco for Braven Films, Weisz for HGS Productions, and Ed Guiney for Element Pictures. “‘Disobedience’ is a timely, distinctive and emotionally powerful story set at the crossroads of tradition and modernity, of personal desires and the demands of faith,” FilmNation said in a press statement Tuesday.

The untitled Julianne Moore project is produced by Juan de Dios Larraín, who produced Lelio’s “Gloria,” along with his brother, Pablo Larraín, one of Latin America’s most reputed film directors (“Jackie”). Inspired by the redoubtable central character of “Gloria,” the project turns on a woman in her fifties, who, though alone and lonely is not done with romance, seeking love at social dance clubs for single adults in Los Angeles. When she meets Arnold, initiating a passionate love affair, she gives her all to a new relationship, whatever her doubts.   

FilmNation is currently in post-production on Dan Fogelman’s “Life Itself.” It produced six features in 2016 including Denis Villeneuve’s Academy Award winning feature “Arrival,” recent specialty box office success “Gifted,” from Marc Webb, and the highly-anticipated upcoming Sundance Film Festival breakout “The Big Sick.”

Sebastian Lelio is represented by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates and Management 360.

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