Foreign film distributors seeking to fill their 2015 and 2016 slates will have a diverse lineup from which to choose at AFM — but whether they decide to bite and prebuy a project before it begins shooting is another question because many have been burned by a star dropping out. “You can’t go out with something that isn’t fully baked,” says Sierra/Affinity CEO Nick Meyer. Lotus co-chairmanBill Johnson agrees: “The bull’s-eye has gotten pretty narrow in terms of what distributors will aggressively prebuy.” Insiders say a handful of potential high-profile projects still hope to close beforeAFM gets underway Nov. 5, but as it now stands, here are the titles high on buyers’ lists (some have even started shooting).
Michael (The Exchange)
DIRECTOR Justin Kelly
STARS James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts
BUZZ Franco plays real-life gay activist Michael Glatze, who denounced his homosexuality and became a pastor. Kelly, a first-time feature director, is a protege of Gus Van Sant, one of the film’s executive producers. (At AFM, The Exchange also will be selling Dustin Lance Black’s romantic comedy The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, which recently cast Hailee Steinfeld.)