Felix Van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersh’s ‘The Eight Mountains’ to Sell at Virtual Cannes Market (EXCLUSIVE)

Belgian director Felix van Groeningen (“Beautiful Boy”) and Charlotte Vandermeersch have started shooting in the Alps on “The Eight Mountains,” an Italian drama based on a bestseller about male bonding set against a mountainous backdrop.

Vision Distribution will launch international sales of the film at the upcoming Cannes virtual market

Pic marks the first foray into Italian-language filmmaking for Van Groeningen who prior to “Beautiful Boy,” his English-language debut, broke out with Oscar-nominated “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” which is in Dutch, followed by “Belgica” winner of a prize at Sundance.

Van Groeningen has teamed up on “Eight Montains” with Vandermeersch, his partner in life, an actor and writer now making her directorial debut. They previously collaborated professionally on “Breakdown” on which she served as a co-writer.

“Bringing this deeply human, epic story to life, we are digging deep and climbing high, higher than either of us have been before,” the co-directors said in a joint statement.

“We are grateful and delighted that Italy’s most brilliant actors are making this journey with us. This film will move mountains,” they added.

The A-list Italian “Eight Mountains” cast, which is now being announced, comprises Luca Marinelli (“Martin Eden”), Alessandro Borghi (“Devils”) Filippo Timi (“Vincere”) and Elena Lietti (“Anna”).

Van Groeningen will be working with his regular cinematographer Ruben Impens, as well as his usual editor, Nico Leunen.

The film is based on an Italian novel of the same title by Paolo Cognetti which has won multiple awards in Italy and France and is also the author’s first book published in the U.S. It’s a coming-of-age tale set over three decades about two young Italian boys – one the son of a chemist, the other of a stonemason – who spend their childhoods together in a secluded Alpine village roaming the surrounding peaks and valleys, before their paths diverge. Many years later they reconnect in the same place.

“The Eight Mountains” is co-produced by Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarossa for Wildside, an Italian unit of Fremantle, with France’s Pyramide Productions, and Belgium’s Menuetto. Pic is being executive produced by Louis Tisné of the U.K.’s Elastic Film.

Vision Distribution, the Italian distributor jointly operated by pay-TV operator Sky Italia and five prominent Italian production companies, will release the film in Italy and sell it in the rest of the world.

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