Focus Features Press
Domestic Rights to Unique Documentary BABY(IES) Acquired by Focus Features
Posted May 18, 2009
DOMESTIC RIGHTS TO UNIQUE DOCUMENTARY BABY(IES) ACQUIRED BY FOCUS FEATURES FROM STUDIOCANAL;
FOCUS PACTS WITH ALAIN CHABAT'S WAM FILMS
PRODUCTION COMPANY IN FIRST-LOOK DEAL
CANNES, May 17, 2009 – Focus Features has acquired domestic and select international rights to the nonfiction feature Baby(ies) from co-producer StudioCanal. Baby(ies) was directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Thomas Balmès from an original idea by Alain Chabat, who produced the picture with Amandine Billot and Christine Rouxel through his Chez Wam production company. Focus has also entered into a first-look deal with Chez Wam's Los Angeles-based subsidiary Wam Films, at which Mr. Chabat's producing partner is Stephanie Danan. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
Capturing on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all, Baby(ies) simultaneously follows four babies, in Mongolia, Namibia, San Francisco, and Tokyo, respectively, from birth to first steps. Every shot tells a story, as the adventure of a lifetime begins.
Baby(ies) will mark the first time that StudioCanal is direct distributor of a film in France, the UK, Germany, and the Benelux. StudioCanal is handling all other international sales. In addition to domestic rights, Focus has acquired the picture for Mexico, Italy, Scandinavia, Korea, and South Africa. Focus production coordinator Christopher Kopp is supervising the feature for president of production John Lyons, as Baby(ies) is currently in post-production for release in 2010.
Mr. Schamus said, "Seeing these little heroes during their formative moments makes Baby(ies) an extraordinarily entertaining experience, one that will appeal to any viewer of any age in any part of the world. With this movie, Thomas is re-defining the nonfiction art form."
StudioCanal president Olivier Courson commented, "We feel that Focus has the right creative vision for this special film, and we look forward to joining forces with their team to market and distribute the film across the planet and make it a big success in 2010."
Mr. Chabat added, "I've been discussing projects with James and John for a while, both remakes and originals. Their instant affection for this movie meant that Focus was the right home for our Baby(ies), and that the time was right to forge a creative partnership."
Wam Films recently produced A Thousand Words, starring Eddie Murphy, which is in post-production. Chez Wam has produced such French-language boxoffice hits as Prête-moi ta main (a.k.a. I Do), based on Mr. Chabat's own original idea and in which he starred; and Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre, which he also wrote, directed, and starred in.
As director, Mr. Balmès' documentary feature credits include A Decent Factory, which won a Europa Award, and which was filmed on location in China; Damages, filmed on location in Connecticut; and The Gospel According to the Papuans, honored with the Silver Spire Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and filmed on location in New Guinea.
Focus Features and Focus Features International (FFI) (www.filminfocus.com) together comprise a singular global company, dedicated to producing, acquiring, financing, selling, and distributing original and daring films from emerging and established filmmakers – films that challenge mainstream moviegoers to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world. The company's flexible and nuanced approach to distribution allows it to support a wide range of films, from those geared to a single local market to worldwide hits. The company operates as Focus Features domestically, and as Focus Features International overseas.
Domestically, the Focus Features slate includes Cary Joji Fukunaga''s epic dramatic thriller Sin Nombre, winner of 2 awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival; writer/director Jim Jarmusch's The Limits of Control, starring Isaach De Bankolé; Away We Go, directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes and starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph; Shane Acker's animated fantasy epic 9, starring Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly and produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov; Greenberg, the new film from writer/director Noah Baumbach, starring Ben Stiller; Academy Award-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola's Somewhere; Academy Award-winning writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen's A Serious Man; and Taking Woodstock, the new film from Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee.
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