Cannes Film Festival is not only the place to show in competition films. It is also the biggest film marketplace in the world. Marche du Film, located on the lower basement floor or Palais de Festival, is the place where the important decisions are being made when it comes to what films the population of one or another region see on their screens in the coming year.
This year, the selection of Christian- themed films at the Marche du Film is somewhat impressive. Especially considering the fact that the subject was almost completely ignored by the market in previous years. But like with Met Gala that reviver the theme of Christianity earlier this week, Cannes Film Festival sees the resurrection of the interest in the topic.
Films like An Interview with God, Samson, God Bless the Broken Road and the documentary Pope Francis: A Man of His Word are playing in the official selection of the 71st Cannes Film Festival. Another Christianity themed narrative, I Can Only Imagine, presented on the market, is scooping big deals. In particular, Lionsgate got the rights for China (!) as well as UK and Poland. Before Cannes, the film got deals for distribution in Latin America, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Korea, Russia, and the Middle East.
I Can Only Imagine is the highest-earning indie film in the US this year, earning $82 million so far. The American Christian drama film is directed by the Erwin Brothers and written by Alex Cramer, Jon Erwin and Brent McCorkle. It is based on the story behind the MercyMe song of the same name, the best-selling Christian single of all time.
Given the subject, it is surprising to see that countries like China and the Middle East bought the rights and will be showing the film.
An Interview With God is another film that is worth paying attention to. It is a fiction film telling the story of an up-and-coming journalist who finds his world and faith increasingly challenged when he’s granted the interview of a lifetime – with someone who claims to be God. The distribution company is working to close the deals with the UK, Australia, Philippines, Germany and Latin America. Ellen Wander, who is selling the feature also confirmed that they are getting the interest from countries like China and Japan – a once unthinkable territory of faith-based films.
Both Samson and Broken Road are also seeing a lively interest compared to previous religious-inspired films.
In the world of ever-increasing tensions, it seems, Christianity might have something to offer for modern day soul-searchers.