Wednesday, July 8, 2009

People We Know

Elliot Grove, the founder of the Raindance Film Festival, will be awarded an honorary doctorate by Plymouth College of Art on July 16.

L.A.-based film vet Peter Marai (who goes back to Media Home Entertainment days) has created a new Buenos Aires-based arthouse distributor, Mirada Distribution.

The first release from Mirada is Andrzej Wajda's "Katyn", which Marai bought from Germany's Betafilm. Pic will open in July.

Marai aims to bow 10-12 films a year, releasing them in Buenos Aires through Marcelo Morales' Arteplex 10-screen arthouse chain.

Other early buys include Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Distant" and "Three Monkeys", both from France's Pyramide; the Match Factory's "Grbavica," and the Steve Buscemi-Sienna Miller 's "Interview" from Cinemavault.

In early Cannes trading, Marai also acquired Edgar Keret's "Jellyfish" and Karin Albou's "La Petite Jerusalem".

Mirada's launch comes as arthouse audiences are contracting in some territories, such as Spain. Other territories, such as France and the U.K., are seeing a release glut.

In Argentina, however, there are still market opportunities, Marai maintained. Argentina has a large tradition of arthouse cinema and thousands of film students. Other Argentine indies -- Alpha, Primer Plano, 791 Cine, Pachamama, Impacto -- tend to spread buys across a range of films. Mirada will be more of a straight-arrow buyer of art pics and new discoveries, Marai said. Mirada will buy all rights to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay and sometimes Chile.

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