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Protagonist Pictures Closes Major Sales In Cannes On Award Winner ‘The Rider’ And Breakout 'The Florida Project'

Protagonist Pictures has almost sold out on the 2017 Directors’ Fortnight selections The Florida Project from Sean Baker and The Rider from Chloé Zhao during the Cannes Film Festival, announced CEO Mike Goodridge. Both films played to packed theatres and to high critical praise in their eagerly anticipated premiere screenings at this year’s festival. The Rider was awarded the 2017 top prize of Directors’ Fortnight, The Art Cinema Award.


The Florida Project was picked up by A24 for North America and Altitude Film Distribution for the UK in deals announced during the festival. Le Pacte picked up the French rights to the film in Berlin. In addition, the film has been sold to Prokino for Germany, Icon Film Distribution for Australia / New Zealand, Sun Distribution Group for Spain and Latin America, Cinema SRL for Italy, Scanbox for Scandinavia, September Films for Benelux, and FilmCoopi for Switzerland. Rights have also gone to Klockworx for Japan, Mirror Stage Films for Taiwan, AUD for South Korea, DDDream for China, Golden Scene for Hong Kong, Filmarti Films for Turkey, Front Row for Middle East, Seven Films for Greece, MCF Megacom Film for Former Yugo, M2 Films in Poland, and to Blue Lake for worldwide airlines.


In addition to the previously announced multi territory pick up by Sony Pictures Classics including all rights in North America, Latin America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Eastern Europe, The Rider has been sold to Altitude Films for the UK, Les Films du Losange for France,  Weltkino for Germany, Caramel Films for Spain, Cherry Pickers for Benelux, Cineworx for Switzerland, NonStop for Scandinavia and Iceland, Shani Films for Israel, Front Row Entertainment for Middle East, Fabula Films for Turkey and Blue Lake for worldwide airlines. A deal in China, Zhao’s home territory, is imminent. The film is Zhao’s second feature and second film selected for Directors’ Fortnight.


"It has been an exciting Cannes for Protagonist,” commented Vanessa Saal, Head of Worldwide Sales for Protagonist. “We’re thrilled to have found great partners around the world for such deserving films, which we’re confident will be landmarks of 2017."


The Florida Project is written and directed by Sean Baker (Tangerine) and co-written with frequent collaborator Chris Bergoch (Tangerine). The critically acclaimed film stars Willem Dafoe (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Antichrist) and newcomers Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite in the story about a precocious six-year-old and her rag-tag group of close friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure, while the adults around them struggle with hard times. 


The film is produced by Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch, Kevin Chinoy, Andrew Duncan, Alex Saks, Francesca Silvestri and Shih Ching Tsou.


Written and directed by Chloé Zhao, and based on his true story, The Rider stars newcomer Brady Jandreau as a once rising star of the rodeo circuit warned that his competition days are over after a tragic riding accident. Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose: to ride and compete. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for new identity and tries to redefine his idea of what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.


Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau, Lane Scott and Cat Clifford also star in the critically acclaimed drama produced by Highwayman Films (Zhao’s company), Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche of Caviar Films, and Mollye Asher. Caviar’s Michael Sagol and Jasper Thomlinson serve as executive producers.


In addition to the Directors’ Fortnight selections, Protagonist Pictures’ Cannes lineup also included Un Certain Regard Jury Prize winner April’s Daughter from writer, director, producer Michel Franco.


About Protagonist Pictures

Protagonist Pictures is an international finance, production and sales company which has a proven track record in outstanding films and commercial successes. Based in the UK, the company handles films from around the world, always maintaining a strong focus on filmmakers with exceptional vision and storytelling skills.


Protagonist’s current successes on release around the world include Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire with its ensemble cast of Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley and Jack Reynor; Adam Smith’s Trespass Against Us starring Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleesson, Charlie McDowell’s The Discovery with Rooney Mara, Jason Segel and Robert Redford, William Oldroyd’s TIFF 2016 buzz feature Lady Macbeth, the 2017 Directors’ Fortnight selections The Rider from Chloé Zhao and The Florida Project from Sean Baker and the 2017 Un Certain Regard Official Selection April’s Daughter from writer, director, producer Michel Franco. Currently in post-production are Clio Barnard’s Dark River, Richard Loncraine’s Finding Your Feet,Amma Asante’s Where Hands Touch and Kristoffer Nyholm’s Keepers, whilst Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War is currently shooting. Pre-production title Paramour, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, will being production in early 2018.