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Activities - 20/05/2016


Sacha Wolff’s MERCENAIRE wins Europa Cinemas Cannes Label


Sacha Wolff’s MERCENAIRE has won the Europa Cinemas Label as Best European film in the Directors’ Fortnight section, it was announced today by a jury of four exhibitors from the network. 2016 marks the fourteenth time the Label has been awarded in Cannes. MERCENAIRE will now receive the support of the Europa Cinemas Network, with additional promotion and incentives for exhibitors to extend the film’s run on screen.

The jury issued the following statement: “First of all, we want to underline how impressed we were by the Quinzaine selection this year. Their warm welcome for each filmmaker is very evident and moving. In MERCENAIRE, Sacha Wolff has made a really powerful and original first feature. The story is simple and direct, and all the stronger for that. A boy is enticed to leave his home and culture in New Caledonia to go and play rugby in France. There he becomes a man, but at a price. Stand out elements in MERCENAIRE are the great script, excellent camerawork and the great performances by the non-professional cast. A very worthy winner of the Europa Cinemas Label at this year’s Cannes.”


Sold internationally by Be For Films, MERCENAIRE is a Timshel and 3B production, co-produced with Arte France Cinéma.

The script is by Sacha Wolff. Samuel Lahu is Director of Photography. Sound by Julien Sicart, editing by Laurence Manheimer with music by Luc Meiland. The cast includes Iliana Zabeth, Laurent Pakihivatau, Mikaele Tuugahala, Petelo Sealeu et Toki Pilioko.

Soane, a young man of Wallisian origin from New Caledonia, defies his father’s authority to go play rugby in France. Left to his own devices on the other side of the world, his odyssey will take him on the path to becoming a man in a world where there is a price to be paid for success.

Sacha Wolff has directed several award-winning short films selected for a number of international film festivals. A graduate of the Fémis School of cinema, he also pursues documentary film-making, which fuels and enriches his fiction work. MERCENAIRE, his first feature film, notably received the Gan Foundation Award in 2014.

The Europa Cinemas jury consisted of four network exhibitors: Stephen Bonato (Utopia Saint Simeon, Bordeaux, France), Mats Gillmor (Folkets Bio, Växjö, Sweden), Sally Griffith (Chapter, Cardiff, UK), Pien Houthoff (Arthouse LUX, Nijmegen, Netherlands).

The Label is also awarded in Berlin, Venice, Karlovy Vary, and will be awarded for the fourth time this year at Locarno.  Recipients of the Label honoured at Cannes in the past include: Mustang,12:08 East of Bucharest, La Pivellina, Le Quattro Volte, The Repentant, The Selfish Giant and Les Combattants.