Luc Besson’s ”Dogman,” starring Caleb Landry Jones, wowed buyers at the Berlin’s European Film Market, where it was screened for select buyers.
“We hosted only one private screening of the completed film and buyers were stunned, they all came out saying that it was Luc Besson’s best film to date, his most mature movie and some even called it a masterpiece,” said Gregoire Melin, founder of Kinology, which is handling sales on the film.
On the heels of the screening, Kinology closed deals with some of the biggest distributors in key international territories, including Italy (Lucky Red), Germany and Austria (Capelight Pictures), Spain and Latin America (Sun Distribution Group), Scandinavia (Svensk Filmindustri), Benelux (Belga Films), Switzerland (Elite Film), Middle East (Front Row), Poland (Monolith), Portugal (Nos Lusomundo Audiovisuais), Czech Republic and Slovakia (AQS) and former Yugoslavia (Blitz).
Kinology is in active talks to close deals for the U.S., U.K., South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Israel, Turkey, Greece, among others.
“Dogman” will mark Besson’s directorial comeback after his 2019 film “Lucy.” It was teased with a trailer at a private exhibition event in Paris, at the Grand Rex theater, on Jan. 24.
Landry Jones, a Texas-born musician and actor best-known for Cannes prizewinning role in “Nitram,” appears to be delivering another towering performance as Douglas, a man who was abused as a child by his violent father and viciously thrown to dogs. Instead of attacking him, the dogs came to protect him and became his allies. On a journey to heal from childhood trauma and physical injury, Douglas seeks to find his own path, even if it means bending societal rules, gender and going overboard with his love of dogs. The trailer, which was teased at the Paris event, show Landry Jones impressively transforming into a woman, and embracing the part, emotionally and physically.
“Dogman” has a darker edge than Besson’s most recent films. It’s reminiscent to his earlier work, notably “The Professional” (aka “Leon”) with Jean Reno, “The Big Blue,” “La Femme Nikita” with Anne Parillaud and his debut “Subway.” These are all driven by protagonists who are either outsiders or living on the margins of society.
Aside from “Nitram,” Landry Jones previously starred in Sean Baker’s Oscar-nominated “The Florida Project” and a pair of Oscar-winning films including Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Besson is producing via his banner LBP. EuropaCorp, the company he founded which is now owned by New York-based Vine Alternative. France’s leading commercial network TF1 has pre-bought the movie and is co-producing it.