Kino Lorber Acquires North American Rights to Cannes Un Certain Regard Winner 'The Worst Ones'

By Kino Lorber | August 17, 2022

Debut feature from Chasse Royale directors Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret will make North American Premiere at TIFF 2022 and Open Theatrically in Early 2023

tiff & Festival de Cannes

Thought-provoking and sometimes darkly funny… a fascinating look at the filming experience.”
Anna Smith, DEADLINE

Akoka and Gueret find sharp insights in the imposition of a film shoot on those involved… [The Worst Ones] asks at what cost without ever being didactic.”

Kino Lorber announced that it has acquired all rights in the US and anglophone Canada to Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret’s sensitive and affecting drama The Worst Ones, which was awarded the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and will make its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this September. Kino Lorber is planning a theatrical release in early 2023 followed by release on home video and all digital platforms, including Kino Now.

The feature debut of directors Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret, The Worst Ones explores themes previously introduced in their Cannes-winning 2016 short film Chasse Royale in its depiction of four local teenagers unexpectedly cast in a film in their working class French town. Written by Akoka, Gueret, and Eleonore Gurrey, the film is produced by Marine Alaric and Frédéric Jouve for Les Films Velvet, and stars Mallory Wanecque, Timéo Mahaut, Johan Heldenbergh, Loic Pech, Mélina Vanderplancke, Esther Archambault, and Matthias Jacquin.

Set in the suburbs of Boulogne-Sur-Mer in northern France, The Worst Ones captures a film within a film as it follows the production of a feature film whose director turns to the local Cité Picasso housing project for casting. Eager to capture performances of gritty authenticity, the director selects four working class teenagers to act in the film to the surprise and consternation of the local community, who question the director’s choice of “the worst ones”. As the director and crew audition, rehearse, film, and interact with their hand-picked cast, jealousies are stoked, lines are crossed, and ethical questions arise, with thought-provoking and at times darkly funny results.

The deal for The Worst Ones was negotiated by Kino Lorber Senior Vice President Wendy Lidell and Agathe Mauruc for Pyramide Films.

One of the finest films in this Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, and its top prize winner, The Worst Ones is an impressive debut from Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret, two astute, insightful filmmakers whose sharp eye for talent is on display in the incredible performances from their young cast of non-professional actors,” said Richard Lorber, President & CEO of Kino Lorber. “They elevate this to an even more ambitious conceptual level as they shapeshift between their characters’ scripted roles and real lives. Never less than dramatically compelling, it’s also metacinema of the highest order. We couldn't be more pleased to continue Kino Lorber's relationship with Pyramide and bring this film to North American audiences.”

We could not be happier that our movie is being distributed in the US and has the opportunity to be seen by the American public,” said directors Lisa Akoka and Romane Gueret. “We hope that viewers will be touched by the universal message of the film, although it is deeply based in the north of France. We are also honored that the movie is being distributed by the amazing Kino Lorber, which has distributed some of the best French filmmakers and more globally the new generation of innovative cinema.”

The Worst Ones

About Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret

Romane Gueret, after studying cinema at the Sorbonne, took her first steps towards directing, as an assistant director, casting assistant or cameraman. Lise Akoka completed a university course in Psychology and a professional training in acting (Les Ateliers du Sud and the Studio-théâtre d’Asnières). She then discovered, in casting and coaching children for the cinema, a way of bringing together her two interests.

In 2014, Romane and Lise met during the casting of a feature film, for which they auditioned more than 4000 young non-professional actors for several months. In 2015, they co-directed the short film Chasse Royale, awarded in several festivals and which won the Illy Prize at Cannes Directors ‘Fortnight in 2016. The film was nominated a year later at the César for Best Short film. In 2018, they co-directed the documentary Allez garçon! for the Hobbies collection, which was broadcast in 2019 on Canal+. In 2020, their web series Tu préfères, 10 episodes of 7 minutes, was broadcast on Arte and then selected at the Sundance Festival. In summer of 2021, they made their first feature film, The Worst Ones, shot in Boulogne-sur-Mer and selected at Un Certain Regard at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.