Cannes & TIFF 2022 Drama ‘The Worst Ones’ Gets North American Deal

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EXCLUSIVE: Kino Lorber has acquired all rights in U.S. and anglophone Canada to Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret’s drama The Worst Ones, which was awarded the top prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section and will make its North American premiere at TIFF.

Set in the suburbs of Boulogne-Sur-Mer in northern France, the feature captures a film within a film as it follows the production of a movie whose director turns to the local housing project for casting. Eager to capture performances of gritty authenticity, the director selects four working class teenagers to act in the film to the surprise and consternation of the local community, who question the director’s choice of “the worst ones”. As the director and crew audition, rehearse, film, and interact with their hand-picked cast, jealousies are stoked, lines are crossed, and ethical questions arise.

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Written by Akoka, Gueret, and Eleonore Gurrey, pic is produced by Marine Alaric and Frédéric Jouve for Les Films Velvet, and stars Mallory Wanecque, Timéo Mahaut, Johan Heldenbergh, Loic Pech, Mélina Vanderplancke, Esther Archambault, and Matthias Jacquin.

The deal was negotiated by Kino Lorber Senior Vice President Wendy Lidell and Agathe Mauruc for Pyramide Films. Kino Lorber is planning a theatrical release in early 2023 followed by release on home video and all digital platforms, including Kino Now.

The feature debut of directors Akoka and Gueret touches on themes explored in their Cannes-winning 2016 short film Chasse Royale. 

“One of the finest films in this Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, and its top prize winner, The Worst Ones is an impressive debut from Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret, two astute, insightful filmmakers whose sharp eye for talent is on display in the incredible performances from their young cast of non-professional actors,” said Richard Lorber, President & CEO of Kino Lorber.

“They elevate this to an even more ambitious conceptual level as they shapeshift between their characters’ scripted roles and real lives. Never less than dramatically compelling, it’s also metacinema of the highest order. We couldn’t be more pleased to continue Kino Lorber’s relationship with Pyramide and bring this film to North American audiences.”

“We could not be happier that our movie is being distributed in the US and has the opportunity to be seen by the American public,” said directors Lisa Akoka and Romane Gueret. “We hope that viewers will be touched by the universal message of the film, although it is deeply based in the north of France. We are also honored that the movie is being distributed by the amazing Kino Lorber, which has distributed some of the best French filmmakers and more globally the new generation of innovative cinema.”

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