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Participant's 'El Ardor' was chosen by Cannes Film Festival as an official selection

By Elsa Leslassy, John Hopewell

Variety - April 30, 2014

PARIS – Pablo Fendrik’s “El Ardor,” a pioneering Amazon-set Western action adventure, is one of the six films which have been added to Cannes Film Festival’s official selection.

“El Ardor,” the third feature from Fendrik (“Blood Appears”), will play in Special Screenings along with Laurent Bécue-Renard’s documentary “Of Men and War,” Kazak director Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s (“Realtors”) “The Owners” and Tony Gatlif’s “Geronimo.”

French vet helmer Andre Techine’s 1976-set “In The Name Of My Daughter” with Guillaume Canet, Catherine Deneuve and Adèle Haenel will unspool out of the competition, while Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s “Fehér Isten” (“White God”) will unspool in Un Certain Regard.

Described by Mundruczó as a sentimental adventure film, “White God” turns on a 12-year-old girl who runs away from home to search for her dog. The Match Factory handles international sales on the the Hungarian-German-Swedish coproduction, which marks Mundruczó’s sixth film. He’s been in Cannes three times, with “Johanna” at Un Certain Regard in 2005 as well as with “Delta” and “Tender Son – The Frankenstein Project” which competed in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

Inspired by a real story, Techine’s film stars Deneuve as Agnes Le Roux, the daughter of a French Riviera Casino owners, who was manipulated by her mother’s confident, a lawyer named Maurice Agnelet, into turning her back on her mother in order gain full control of the Casino.  After she mysteriously disappeared in 1977, Agnelet became a prime suspect for the crime, although no body or evidence were ever found. Techine previously had six films play in Cannes’ official selection. Elle Driver reps international sales.

“Geronimo”  toplines up-and-coming French star Céline Sallette as a young educator raised by Gypsies who works in the South of France and battles to diffuse escalating tensions between the Gypsy and Turkish communities. Gatlif previously won Cannes film fes’s best director nod for “Exils” and Un Certain Regard prize for his doc “Latcho Drom.”

Participant Media’s first investment under its Participant PanAmerica initiative, “El Ardor” stars Gael Garcia Bernal as an Amazon rainforest shaman who befriends a tabacco farmer and his beautiful daughter (Alice Braga). When a band of brutal mercenaries slaughter the father and kidnap the daughter, the shaman sets out to rescue her.

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Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant Media’s (www.participantmedia.com) content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 40 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake—all aimed at entertainment that inspires social awareness and engaging audiences to participate in positive social change. Participant’s content and social impact mandate speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing over 2 billion consumers who are compelled to make impactful content a priority focus. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant is positioned uniquely within the industry to engage a rapidly growing audience while bringing global awareness and action to today’s most vital issues.

Participant’s more than 80 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 56 Academy Award® nominations and 12 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight and Best Foreign Language Film for A Fantastic Woman. Participant’s digital entertainment division, SoulPancake (www.soulpancake.com), is an award-winning provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting digital content including such widely popular series as Kid President and The Science of Happiness and reaches an audience of nearly 9 million fans. Follow Participant Media on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SoulPancake on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram.