Mustang, a case of (absolute) success

Mustang, a case of (absolute) success

Taking a bow at Cannes, the world’s most important film festival, then again at the Oscars, the world’s most coveted film awards, taking a brief pit stop at the LUX Prize, the most relevant film prize given by a public institution, not forgetting the European Film Academy Awards, all the while being sold around the planet. It is, indeed, a dream case scenario – a very difficult achievement for any film, let alone a first feature film, but Mustang has managed to go through it all.

The LUX Prize is seeing its 2015 winner, Turkish filmmaker Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s first feature film being released in every territory around the world. While France was the first to welcome it following its Cannes bow (distributed by Ad Vitam in June), other European countries received it during 2015 as well: Belgium (Cinéart, in August), French-speaking Switzerland (Agora Films, in September) Italy (Lucky Red, in October), Russia (Arthouse, in October), Croatia (Demiurg, in November) and Greece (Strada Films, in December). Turkey (Kurmaca Film, in October) and Colombia (Cineplex, in December) also released it during 2015, and, interestingly enough – probably thanks to the Golden Globe and Oscar buzz –, the United States was one of those territories eager to release it, with Cohen Media Group taking it to theatres in November. By the end of the year, Ergüven and executive producer Charles Gilibert of CG Cinéma had cause to celebrate: the film had sold 393,269 tickets internationally. This is, of course, in addition to the success the film enjoyed in its home country, as 2015 saw Mustang selling 472,901 tickets in France.

And it is far from over, in the first quarter of 2016, Mustang has been released in Argentina (CDI Films, in January), Brazil (Pandora, in January), Uruguay (ENEC, in January), Hungary (Mozinet, in January), Québec (Metropole Films Distribution, in January), Portugal (Outsider Films, in January), Germany (Weltkino Filmverleih, in February), Chile (CDI Films, in February), Norway (Scanbox Entertainment, in February), Mexico (Canibal, in February), German-speaking Switzerland (Agora Films, in February), Bolivia (BF Distribution Bolivia, in February), Austria (Filmladen, in March), South Korea (in March), Spain (A Contracorriente, in March), Lebanon (Metropolis, in March), Sweden (Scanbox Entertainment, in March), Czek Republic ( Artcam), and Poland (GutekFilm) . Mustang was the sixth highest-grossing French film worldwide in January, the fourth in February and the third during March. And of course, the show goes on: May will see it released in the United Kingdom (Artificial Eye) with the remaining territories still having to set a date.

Mustang has received accolades since unveiling at the Directors’ Fortnight at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it received one of the main prizes, the Europa Cinemas Label. Ever since May, the film has triumphed at festivals such as Odessa, Sarajevo and Dublin, before being nominated for six Lumières (taking home four) and nine Césars (also winning four) in France as well as the Golden Globe and the Oscar Awards for Best Foreign Language Film in the United States.

Just what is the ceiling for Mustang’s success?