MK2, the venerable family film group that operates a leading arthouse multiplex chain in France and Spain, is emerging from the pandemic stronger, cooler and more ambitious than ever.
Nathanaël and Elisha Karmitz, who took over from their father Marin as the head of the company in 2005, galvanized the MK2 brand with activities ranging from film, art, publishing, technology and lifestyle. . The common points between all these companies are the taste for singularity, curation and a social approach.
After scoring at Cannes in 2019 with “Atlantics” by Mati Diop and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” by Céline Sciamma, which competed and won awards, MK2 Films will once again be quite present for the return edition of the festival. with nine films on several selections, including the competition with “The Worst Person in the World” by Joachim Trier, the new section of the Cannes premiere with “Cow” by Andrea Arnold, Un Certain Regard with “House Arrest” by Aleksey German Jr. and “Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova” Women cry; ”And Directors’ Fortnight with“ A Chiara ”by Jonas Carpignano and“ The Brave ”by Anaïs Volpé. The company also has the documentary “Invisible Demons” by Rahul Jain, co-represented with Participant au cinéma for the climate section, and two films at Cannes Classics, “La double vie de Véronique” by Krzysztof Kieślowski and “Black Cat, White” by Emir Kusturica Chat. “
Under the direction of Nathanael Karmitz and Managing Director Fionnuala Jamison, an Irish-born executive who took over from Juliette Schrameck last year, MK2 Films is now poised to expand with more acquisitions, including titles in English, more co-productions and more hires. .
The company’s list of new acquisitions includes Mikhael Hers’ “Night Birds” with a female cast led by Charlotte Gainsbourg (“Melancholia”), rising star Noée Abita (“Slalom”) and Emmanuelle Béart (“8 Women”) . “Night Birds,” the director’s sequel to the Venice premiere of “Amanda,” depicts a divorcee raising her children alone and working on a late-night radio show in the 1980s.
MK2 Films also boarded “Mars Express”, Jérémie Perrin’s elegant animated film noir set in the near future. “Mars Express” follows a private investigator and her Android partner who are hired by a wealthy businessman to track down a notorious hacker. Their investigation takes them to Mars where they uncover a darker tale of brain farms, corruption, and a missing girl.
Jamison said the feature film “will combine 2D and 3D animation and include a healthy dose of humor and action scenes.” The executive said that “Mars Express” was also in line with the company’s other high-end animation projects, including “A Winter’s Journey” by Alex Helfrecht, which is directed by the creative teams behind “Despicable Me” and “Loving Vincent”. and “The Inventor”, written and directed by Jim Capobianco, the Oscar nominated scribe of “Ratatouille”.
Scheduled for delivery in 2022, “Mars Express” is produced by Everybody on Deck and is created by Je Suis Bien Content, a well-known studio whose track record includes “The Day of the Crows” and “Persepolis”. Gebeka will distribute the film in France. MK2 Films will present a demo of the project in Cannes.
As it strives to nurture a young generation of filmmakers, MK2 Films has also acquired the international sales rights to “Mother and Son”, the second release from Leonor Serraille who won the Camera d’Or at Cannes with ” Jeune Fille “in 2017. The film opens in the 1980s and spans 30 years in the life of Rose, who left Africa for the Parisian suburbs with her two young sons. Produced by Blue Monday Productions, the film stars Annabelle Lengronne, Stéphane Bak, Ahmed Sylla and Kenzo Sambin. It will be released in France by Diaphana.
“In previous years, we were processing 10 to 15 films per year, and now we aim to process between 15 and 20 with the desire to have a balance between established filmmakers and emerging talent, many of whom are women. “, explains Karmitz. .
The company’s Cannes programming is dominated by female directors again this year, but Karmitz says that has nothing to do with affirmative action. “It happens in a very natural way through the choices we make, and it is a reflection of today’s world but in reality, female directors have always played a central role in the history of cinema since its inception. “, explains Karmitz.
Jamison confirms: “We are happy to work with a young generation of directors, and we see every year that an increasing number of them are directed by women, like Leonore Seraille, who give a different tone and voice to the stories. they tell. . I think we all need that new look.
Jamison said that while the market is very competitive with “distributors focusing primarily on established directors, there is still room for lesser-known director gems as long as they stand out in their subjects, characters or their points of view “.
“All the films on our program say something about our world and are very political; if you take the two films in Un Certain Regard for example, each represents a very particular chapter in history that resonates today, ”explains Karmitz.
“MK2 has always been driven by the desire to research stories about particular situations that can strike a universal chord,” adds Karmitz, who added that political commitment has always been at the root of MK2 since its founding by Marin Karmitz in 1974.
MK2 Films will also increase its contribution to the co-production. In the current post-Covid cinematographic landscape, the company feels a duty to “get more involved with filmmakers and encourage them to continue making singular and original films that will be discovered in theaters,” explains Karmitz.
With its international outlook, the company is also well placed to ensure that the projects it takes on will travel abroad. “100% of our programming travels, and on each title, we have at least 25 territories sold,” says Jamison.
The executive, which was active in securing the worldwide sales rights to Arnold’s “Cow”, said the company was attractive to represent more films from Anglo-Saxon industries, including the UK. United, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Another key aspect of MK2 is its love for heritage films and its impressive library of 600 films, including classics from Charles Chaplin to Claude Chabrol, David Lynch and Abbas Kiarostami. Rosalie Varda, the daughter of the late New Wave legend Agnes Varda, has joined MK2 Films as a senior consultant for the company’s library activities. Over the past year, MK2 has organized several events, including a tribute to Chabrol with a program of five iconic films restored in 4K titled “Suspense in the Female Form”; and a retrospective and large-scale exhibition of Kiarostami’s work; and the centenary of “The Kid”, Charlie Chaplin’s first film.
The brothers’ latest business is the Hotel Paradiso, a trendy and chic cinephile haven located in Paris. The four-star venue has 34 rooms, tastefully decorated by Alix Thomsen and equipped with laser projectors and giant screens; while two suites even have state-of-the-art private screening rooms. The hotel is also a Parisian hotspot with a karaoke lounge, a podcast studio and an outdoor cinema on the roof terrace with a breathtaking view of Paris. Due to the venue’s great success since launching a few months ago, Karmitz said the company is now considering opening another Paradiso hotel in Paris.
MK2 is also a great specialist in organized digital initiatives. In 2020, the company created Festival à la Maison, an online festival, and launched MK2 Curiosity, an AVod platform dedicated to rare arthouse films. The brothers’ love of great art and films is also on display in their Cinema Paradiso festival which is currently hosted by the Louvre and offers free outdoor screenings of cult and expected films like “How I Became a Superhero” from Netflix. by Douglas Attal.
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