Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ventana Sur, The First Latin American - European Film Market to be held on Latin American Ground.

The positive energy here is palpable. Everyone is not only happy to be here, but business is brisk. It feels like a natural place for a Latin American market with films, buyers and sellers all discussing Spanish language films con mucho gusto.

A lot of INCAA and Euro money went into this. Held in the magnificent space of Harrods next to Calle Florida where shopping deals rule, and in the Cinemark Theaters on the Rio de la Plata River, well organized with online screenings of films which will continue to be available to participants for the next two months on Cinando, it looks ordained as a key event on the market calendar.

How it will compare to Guadalajara Film Festival and Market in March is a question that hangs in the air. Cinando's participation there goes back four years with its active Co-Production Market.

On reading the list of 1,400 buyers and sellers it was a bit intimidating seeing the best names in the European business. There were far fewer American sellers, perhaps because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but there was Shoreline, Laguna, Outsider and Figa among the sellers' tables. Making an informal appearance as both buyer and seller was Maya who is proud of their first production, The Dry Land - to debut in Sundance - about a Tejano soldier returning from Iraq, produced by Sergio Aguero whose career path from the days of Trimark has been extraordinary.

Looking at the US buyers who came and who did not was also revealing. As ever, Peter Goldwyn was present. Condor's Peter Marai who is not only buying for Condor, his US video label but has already released three (European) films in his new Argentinean distribution company Mirada were here as were Richard Lorber, Film Movement, Kino and Zeitgeist, Strand, TLA, young, energetic Cuban and Brazilian owned California based Figa Films -- both buying and selling, Venevision, LAPTV, Latino Public Broadcasting, Magnolia, Music Box, Roadside Attractions (me!). Also present, Canadians Yves Dion of TVA, Mongrel, Lina Marrone representing Lolafilm sales were also here. And all the best European distributors, along with all the Latin American distributors make this intimate space very exciting.

Considering the elusive US market for foreign language films and the prevalence of French language films among them; not counting 2008 Fox Searchlight's Sundance acquisition Under the Same Moon which did gross $12,600,000, 2007's Lionsgate / Univision release of Robber of Robbers (Ladrón que roba a ladrón) which racked up $4,000,000, or 2006's Lionsgate My Brother's Wife (La Mujer de mi hermano) from Colombia which grossed almost $3,000,000, the few Spanish language films that have been released over the past three years have been few and far between and have grossed bupkas (all under $100,000). Experts in the US marketing and distribution of Latino films agree (see the blog on LALIFF) that if there were a steady flow of good product theatrically, an audience could and would be cultivated, but there has only been on film per year backed with enough marketing behind it to reach the audience.

The screenings in the Cinemark Theaters were somewhat sparse to start, with the possibility to going from one to another easy but also discouraging. Perhaps the distance from the Market itself discouraged attendance, although the last day of big screenings left me quite upbeat. Even if the films are not blatantly bidding-war-commercial, my favorites -- insightful, well produced and well directed -- were Elo Audiovisuals Budapest, Bolivia's Zona Sur with no sales agent on offer from the Cultural Center Yaneramai CCY-SRL. (NB DECEMBER 12: SHORELINE HAS PICKED UP WORLD RIGHTS AND THE FILM WILL SHOW IN SUNDANCE), and the Argentinean submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar of 2009 El Secreto de sus Ojos. The Primer Corte (works in progress) was very well attended with distributors looking to get in on the upcoming releases earlier than their competition.  The most talked about film were Los Viejos and Vacas Flakas. The 450 titles available online in the viewing booths at the market itself were being consumed avidly and the sellers report considerable sales. The films? continuing viewing availability to participants on Cinando for the next two months can keep the heat up and will also alert film buyers and sellers and perhaps festivals to the expanding possibilities of online distribution both as a new trade tool within the trade and to the next step, beyond the trade.

We will see what sales were made and we hope that they match the optimistic positive energy so in evidence so that next year we can once again partake in what we hope will be a growing market and a growing supply of young original talent.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Thessaloniki has so much to offer and between meetings and screenings, plus my current work with the Berlinale's European Film Market, there is little time to explore the environs, like, Mount Olympus and the newly excavated perfectly preserved gravesite of Philip, the father Alexander the Great and Alexander's son Alexander IV, killed before reaching the age to become king. Truly and literally classic!

Thessaloniki is situated between east (as in The Byzantine) and west Europe, at the edge of the Balkans. Aside from the market itself called Agora and organized by Margarita Eliopoulou, three sections are designed to take advantage of its geographically unique location: the Balkans, South Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.

• Salonica Studio/ Four Corners, the TIFF Student Workshop - My partner Peter Belsito is busy coaching the Thessaloniki film school students in pitching and entering the world('s) markets. Thessaloniki has the largest student population in Greece.

• Balkan Fund, the TIFF Script Development Fund

• Crossroads, the TIFF Co-Production Forum

It's obvious still that Romania holds sway as the great emerging film talent in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti’s dynamic debut feature Ajami and Calin Netzer’s Romanian drama Medal Of Honour took the top prizes at the 50th Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece on November 22.

The debut film First of All, Felicia (Romania) also screened at AFI this year (and premiered at Sarajevo). This film's two debuting directors Melissa de Raaf and Razvan Radulescu are seasoned writers. Especially Razvan who wrote my favorite film from Thessaloniki last year, which surprisingly has made very little waves stateside, not even showing in Jewish Film Festivals, a film worthy of the great French Romanian playwright Ionesco, Gruber's Journey. He was the writer on Best Foreign Language Oscar winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days , The Paper Will Be Blue and The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. It's obvious Razvan should try his hand at directing. I only wish it had not been from a script that would be better made into a stage play. Well written, and very well acted, but shot in two locations with three actors, it felt too enclosed.

The side bar Crossroads, organized by Despina Mouzaki, the director of the festival itself, and Marie-Pierre Macia, had 17 projects chosen from Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Syria and Turkey, all wth experienced producers and directors attached, gathered from the Producers' Network in Cannes, the Mediterranean Film Institute, a MEDIA proramme, and Sofia Meetings of the Sofia Film Festival. Two films coming from there showed at TIFF this year: Israel's Academy Award submission Ajami and Romania's Kino Caravan.

Romania producer Tudor Giurgiu of Libra Film whose Katalin Varga is at the festival is also pitching Adalbert's Dream at Crossroads. Producer Giurgiu himself seems to be the one man organizing the entire Romanian film industy. While he would not claim this himself, in many ways he reminds me of Pusan's Mr. KIM Dong-Ho. Aside from his production company Libra Film, he is the founder of film distribution company Transilvania Film and film/ music magazine Re:public. He is also the founder and honorary President of the Transilvania Int'l Film Festival, the first and most important international festival for feature films from Romania, and founder of Romanian Film Promotion, initiator of the GOPO Awards (the annual awards for best achievemens in local filmmaking, the local equivalent to the Oscar or Cesar Awards), and is a member of the board of ACRO, Romanian Filmmakers' Association. Who knows but that in 10 years he may also be honored by Thessaloniki as the new Mr. KIM for Eastern Europe's ascendancy in world film.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thessaloniki Film Festival Honors Pusan and KOFIC presents reform plan to culture ministry

As the Thessaloniki International Film Festival waits on its own government to see its new policies toward the film industry, currently undergoing its own changes, and while TIFF's numerous activities seem to be making it the center of the Greek film industry, it honored and awarded Mr. KIM Dong-Ho, the founder of Pusan International Film Festival for his innovative and creative activities over the past 13 years working to establish Pusan as Korea's film capital. His address was eloquent and enlightening.

While in 1926 the first films were produced in Pusan, in 1945 [he did not say this, but I would note it here: "In 1945 when the U.S. army occupied the former Japanese colony of South Korea..."] theaters closed and no writers, directors, producers worked in Pusan. Every aspect of the film industry moved to Seoul, including publishing and all cultural events, creating a vacuum, or cultural wasteland in Pusan.

In 1996 Pusan International Film Festival was founded and the film industry began to reestablish its roots in Pusan.
  • In 1998 Rotterdam Cinemart -- which was formerly headed by Wouter Barendrect, the man credited with bringing Asian films to the west -- began working with PPP which essentially brought the western "players" to the east to participate in international co-productions originating in the east.
  • Pusan's Film Commission was the first in Asia to have an organized effort to bring production to locations in Pusan.
  • Extensive studio facilities continue to be built in Pusan.
  • Exports of Korean films expanded from $50 millon in 1996 to $76 million in 2005.
  • The market share of Korean films in Korea rose from 20% in 1996 to 60% in 2008.
  • Profits from the business have been reinvested in training the upcoming generations in film and in promotion of the Korean film industry.

  • And as announced in the following article in Screen Daily, (KOFIC presents reform plan to culture ministry News Screen: "The Korean Film Council (KOFIC), led by recently-appointed chairman CHO Hee-moon, reported on a plan for reform today (November 11) to the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, YOO In-chon." ) "According to an initiative to move government offices out of Seoul, KOFIC is now scheduled to move its offices to Busan by December 2012. It is due to sell its main office building in Hongneung and the Seoul Studio Complex in Namyangju by December 2011, while keeping the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) building in the Hongdae neighborhood only to re-educate and train film industry workers. "

The remainder of Screen's article leaves me wondering at the political implications of the article and which players are right, left, like-minded (with my concerns and Pusan's). However, the points made after the dizzyfying rhetoric (here quoted: The government-funded organisation has recently been suffering through what the labour union called “KOFIC’s greatest crisis” before and after the exit of its much-criticised former chairman KANG Han-sup. The problems included the staff’s weak performance evaluation and attacks from veteran filmmakers on what they called “leftist favoritism” in the years before Korea’s current right-wing administration took over. ) are important points:

I hope I will be able to speak with KIM Dong-Ho before he leaves today. If I do, this article will be revised.

Friday, November 6, 2009

AFM Rights Round Up

A WORK IN PROGRESS: Halls and the lobby of Loews remained bare and quiet until Monday when the final day approaches and buyers began congregating in final deals. Surprisingly to all multiple sales had already been made by day 2 and sales for some, if not all were better than expected even if prices were lower. At the Thursday evening European Film Promotion reception, where all friends in the biz meet with welcoming smiles, Marcus Hu of Strand said he was already packing up to go as he had made his purchases..they were already screening Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before AFM began he said. One sales agent remarked that Toronto was the zero level and AFM looked like level 1 had been reached. One sales agent said only theatrical films were selling. Jonathan Wolf says AFM has are 10% fewer sellers (369 vs. 412 in 2008) but 4% more buyers with 13 new buyers from South Korea, 10 from US, 7 from Russia and 5 from China.

To quote Screen Daily's wrap up article: "Marquee titles like a hot trio from Summit - The Beaver, Red and Vendome Pictures’ first title Source Code starring Jake Gyllenhaal - Kinology’s Buried with rising star Ryan Reynolds, IM Global’s Area 51 from Oren Peli, and Focus Features International’s (FFI)
starring George Clooney have all done well here. Buyers have flocked to Mandate International’s Paul Haggis film The Next Three Days with Russell Crowe, The Weinstein Company’s Scream 4 and Hyde Park International’s Machete."

Here's a view on sales.

6 Sales sold Ex Terminators to Ascot Elite for Germany, Four Corners in Benelux, Horizon One in Australia, CP Digital in Russa, Pro Rom in Romania, Peekshill in Poland and the Czech Republic, Falcon in the Middle East and DBS in Israel. UTV will handle US distribution.
The Dancer and the Thief has sold to Rialto for Austrial and New Zealand.

Affinity Internationalis an "old/ new" international sales agent formed by Bold Films and Odd Lot Entertainment’s international sales arms which merged as Affinity International in time to debut at AFM.

Arclight Films's Bait 3D has pre-sold rights to Paramount for Australia, Arena Comunicación for Spain, Medusa for Italy, Gussi Films for Mexico, Paris Filmes for Brazil, and Lusomundo for Portugal, VideoVision Entertainment (South Africa), Dutch Film Works (Benelux), Aqua Pinema (Turkey), Amero Mitra (Indonesia), Pioneer (Philippines), Soundspace (Thailand, India, Vietnam) and Alfa (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay), Cine Colombia (Colombia), Delta (Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador), Ballistic (Middle East), Modus Vivendi (Eastern Europe) and Arena (former Yugoslavia).

Arsenal/ Mirabelle's Tribeca premiering Tell-Tale has gone to Genius and Alliance for US and Canada respectively. Susan Jackson of Turtles Crossing and WME Global handled the domestic deal for the filmmakers.

Aspect Films has licensed the already-US-Warner Bros.-DVD comedy The Utopian Society to Scandinavia (Scanbox), Romania (Globcom), and the Middle East (Front Row). Self Medicated has sold to Benelux (Homvision) and North America (THINKFilm). Four films went to Front Row for the Middle East: Familiar Strangers, Drawn and In Memory Of My Father (which has more offers in negotiation now), and The Clan. Documentary The Peter Green Story has sold to Scanbox for the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia; and to airlines British Airways and Qatar Airways.
Atrix sold Buy Borrow Steal to Mediaset's RTI for pay TV in Italy and SBS TV for Belgium.

Bankside Films licensed Accidents Happen to Image Entertainment for all North American rights. Hopscotch Films has Australia and New Zealand. Blessed went to Baditri for Spain and How About You to Sherlock Films in Spain. New UK distributor Matchbox Films picked up Normal.

Bavaria Film International has licensed Krabat to Australia’s Accent Film. Liebe Mauer has sold to Isaan Entertainment in Spain and Golden Harvest in Hong Kong. Spanish buyer Contracorrientes Filmes has picked up Buddenbrooks, Van Diemen’s Land and Bothersome Man. Deliver Us From Evil has gone to Prorom in Romania, with Germany and US under negotiation. Nothing Personal has gone to Isaan in Spain and MFA Filmverlieh in Germany while US and French deals are likely to be closed soon.

CJ who has entered into a mutually beneficial strategic partnership with Fortissimo has also sold White Night to Edko for Hong Kong and Catchplay for Taiwan who also acquired Secret. Killer Bride's Perfect Crime went to Golden Harvest for Hong Kong and Catchplay for Taiwan. Coproduced by Japan's Amuse Soft and TBS, it is already in release in Japan and Korea. Good Morning President which debuted in Pusan went to SPO for Japan and Catchplay for Taiwan. SPO also acquired Public Enemy Returns and Marine Boy. All done by day 2! Mother went to Festive for Singapore. Golden Slumber went to Filmware for Taiwan. Haeundae went to ECS fo the Middle East which is now sold out. White Night and Secret went to Catchplay for Taiwan.

CMG licensed Good Hair to Icon for UK, Other Angle for France, Nu Metro for South Africa and Front Row for the MIddle East. Talks continue with Eastern Europe and Madman took Australia and New Zealand prior to AFM. The Collector went to Icon for UK, CTV International for France, Rialto for Australai and New Zealnd, Splendid for Germany, Front Row for the Middle East and is talking with Mexico and Eastern Europe.

Contentfilm's Ironclad has gone to Square One in Germany, Village Films in Greece, Bowline for Czech and Slovak Republics, Pro Films in Bulgaria, Italia in the Middle East, Cinestar Films in Philippines, Monolith in Poland, Lusomundo in Portugal, Media Pro in Romania, Antena 3 in Spain, Sahmongkol in Thailand, and Umut Sanat in Turkey. Airlines and ships have been bought by Jaguar.

Dadi Entertainment, China has licensed its $23m biopic Confucius to Korea’s JL International, Thailand’s Sahamongkol and Singapore’s Cathay Keris Films. It has also gone to Hong Kong’s Intercontinental (theatrical) and Mei Ah (video & TV), Taiwan’s Applause Entertainment, Malaysia’s Golden Screen, Indonesia’s PT Amero Mitra Film and Vietnam’s BHD, and Spain’s Flins & Piniculas . Dadi and China Film Group Corporation will release the film on more than 3,000 screens across mainland China on Jan 28, 2010.

Epic Pictures has l,icensed Blood River to MIG Film for Germany, Vox for Russia, Five Stars for Brazil and Argentina, Spentzos Films for Greece and Carisma Films for Poland, Ster-Kinekor for South Africa and Gulf for the Middle East.

Films Distribution licensed The Horde to IFC Films in the US and to Showgate in Japan and is about to close a Korean deal.

Fine Cut continues its work with Pablo Trapero on the next film Carancho. Lion's Den (aka Leonera)'s French distributor Ad Vitam will also invest in the film. Cinema Epoch has acquired North American distribution rights to Eye for An Eye and Fighter in the Wind. Finecut has sealed a Japanese deal on Ounie Lecomte’s A Brand New Life, selling the Korean-French co-production to Crest International.

Forward Motion Entertainment licensed Pontypool to Anchor Bay in Asuatralia and New Zealand and Camro in Scandinavia. Earlier deals included Kaleidoscope for UK, Mirovision for So. Korea, Phoenicia for the Middle East, A-Plus for Turkey, MIG for Germany and Maple for Canada. IFC has US.

Fuji TV and Pony Canyon have sold Threads of Destiny, Happy Flight and Nobody To Watch Over Me to Continental for Hong Kong and Cathay for Singapore.

Galloping Films, headed by Carlos alperin has pre-sold Love and Virtue to Lizard Cinema for CIS, Tandem Video for Bulgaria, Falcon for the Middle East.

Gaumont licensed Last Night and Splice to Dutch FilmWorks for Benelux. La rafle (The Roundup) went to Wide for Spain. Other distributors of Splice which premiered at Sitges are
Seville Pictures for Canada, California Filmes for Brazil, Madman Entertainment for Australia and New Zealand, Mirovision for So. Korea, Quality Films for Spain, Senator Film for Germany.

Graham King's GK Films licensed Edge of Darkness and The Young Victoria to Wild Bunch for Germany and Austria.

Hanway licensed Samuel Goldwyn the US rights along with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group who will handle other "select entertainment rights" to Harry Brown.
The film launches wide in the UK this weekend.

Icon licensed East is East to Metropolitan for France, lusomundo for Portugal, Odeon for Greece, Prime Pictures for the Middle East.

IM Global sold out on Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity and expects to close a North American deal soon and has licensed Oren Peli’s Area 51 to Momentum in the UK, Concorde in Germany, Euro TV in France, Zelta in Spain, and Village Roadshow in Australia and New Zealand, and to PlayArte (Latin America), Svensk (Scandinavia), RCV (Benelux), Village Roadshow (Greece), and Gulf (Middle East.)

Independent Film Sales has sold Exm to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for UK and is collaborating with the producers on a theatrical release for the film in January.

Intandem licensed Your Perfect Angel to Mediafilm for Italy, CP Digital for CIS, Svensk for Scandinavia, Freeman for Eastern Europe, Village Roadshow for Greece, and PT Amero for Indonesia. Previous deals were made with Splendid for Germany and Lusomundo for Portugal.

Kadokawa has sold Ju-On: Whaite Ghost and Ju-on: Black Ghost to Media Blasters for US and RAM India for Singpore, Malaysia and Indonesia. CMC opens November 5 in Taiwan. Showbox of So. Korea had 300,000 admissions. The Unbroken ($20 million budget) wold to Consolidated Theaters in Hawaii.

Kathy Morgan Intl licensed The Danish Girl to Dutch FilmWorks for Benelux.

Latido licensed The Secret of Their Eyes to Sony Pictures Classics for US.

LongTale International has licensed Neten Chokling's Milarepa: Magician, Murderer, Saint to Sweden's Axess TV.

Media Asia licensed The Legend of Chen Zhen to TF1 for France. Dream Movies took rights for Australia and New Zealand to Love In A Puff and Death Of A Hostage. Accident went o Rose Media for Thailand, Kaewon for Korea and Horizon for Turkey. Look For A Star went to Rose Media and Sky City Cinema for New Zealand. Death Of A Hostage sold to Maywin for Russia. Sky City Cinema also picked up Lady Cop & Papa Crook.

Media Luna licensed Call Girl to Only Hearts for Japan. 9 to 5: Days in Porn has gone to Beyond Home Entertainment for Australia/New Zealand with the guarantee of theatrical release in at least two cities. The Dragon House has sold to Kim Media for Korea.

Memento by day 2 has presold Black Heaven to O Brother for Benelux, PCV for Greece, Edko for Hong Kong, Catchplay for Taiwan. Haut et Court has France and the film is already tipped for Cannes.

Mirovision licensed Lifting Kingdom to Golden Harvest for Hong Kong and China. Death Bell went to KMG for Japan and Thailand and Elephant Films for French speaking territories.

MK2 licensed Belgian submission for Best Foreign Language Oscar The Misfortunates to Neo Classics (The Black Balloon, Moscow, Belgium) for US. Other distributors are Against Gravity (Il Divo, Waltz with Bashir) for Poland, A-ONE (Rumba, Dark Blue Almost Black) for Russia and the Baltic countries. MK2 Distribution releases the film on 100 prints in France on December 30.

Myriad licensed 3D English-language animated feature Dino Mom, currently in production in South Korea, sold to Gussi in Mexico, Imagem in Brazil, Cinemax in CIS/Russia, New Wave in China, Eagle Films in the Middle East, Intersonic in the Czech Republic/Hungary and MCFilms in the former Yugoslavia.Deals also closed with Polsat in Poland, ITV in Romania, Myndeform in Iceland, Aurora in the Ukraine, Delta Films in Peru, Blanco & Travieso in Venezuela and Leda Films in Latin America for Pay TV. Dino Mom went out through existing output deals with Golden Village in Singapore, VC Multimedia in Portugal, D Productions in Turkey and CineColumbia in Colombia.

Nikkatsu has sold Alien Vs Ninja to Revolver Entertainment for the UK and M Pictures for Thailand.

NonStop sold Magic Silver to BlueMedia Times for China, to Flins y Piniculas for Spain. Reykjavik-Rotterdam went to A Contracorriente in Spain.

Nu Image Films/ Millenium licensed Stallone directed The Expendables, Riot, Leaves of Grass, Labor Pains and an option on the Conan The Barbarian remake to Dutch FilmWorks for Benelux. Riot has also been sold to CatchPlay for Taiwan, Prorom Media-Trade for Romania, Wide Pictures for Spain who also acquired Trust.

Odin’s Eye has parsed out North American rights in two separate deals with Cinetic Media and Phase 4. Cinetic has acquired digital rights across all media platforms, and Phase 4 (formerly Peace Arch Home Entertainment) has home video rights. Odin’s Eye is also planning a limited North American theatrical release for the film in Feb 2010 to coincide with the Vancouver Winter Olympics and black history month.

Paramount Vantage International sales chief Alex Walton reported a ‘sensational’ response to the crime thriller remake 13 backed by Barbarian, Oceana Media and Magnet Media Group. It is close to selling out on completed titles like Overture pictures Traitor and Last Chance Harvey. 13 went to Wide for Spain. It had already presold to Distribution Company for Argentina, Midget Entertainment for Denmark, Noble Entertainment for Sweden.

Parkland Pictures licensed L'Amour Cache to Cinema Epoch for US.

Parlay Films licensed Henry's Crime to Wide for Spain.

Pathe licensed Oceans to Dutch FilmWorks for Benelux.

Protagonist Pictures has licensed Streetdance 3D to Metropolitan for France, Alliance for Canada, Aurum for Spain, Mars for South Korea, RCV for Benelux, Scanbox for Scandinavia and Front Row for the Middle East, Independent for Israel, Golden Scene for Hong Kong, Monolith for Eastern Europe, and Lens Media for China. CAA is handling the US Vertigo has set a UK release date for May 2010. Protagonist has also closed a two-picture deal with Icon for Australia for Wild Target and The Firm. NonStop took The Firm for Scandinavia. IFC Films bought Le Donk And Scor-Zay-Zee for the US, Madman took it for Australia and Front Row for the Middle East. Nativity has gone to Swift for France. Protagonist is also fielding several offers on Bel Ami .

Rézo Films licensed A Skirt Day to Cinema Epoch for US.

Roissy Films licensed The Sicilian Girl for the US.

Salt licensed US rights to Dominic Murphy’s White Lightnin', a Sundance premiering film and winner of the Hitchcock D’Or at the Dinard Film Festival and the winner this week of the international competition at the Mumbai Film Festival to Sundance Selects a Rainbow Meda label to release in theatres and on video-on-demand in 2010. Momentum currently has the film on theatrical release in the UK and it is in theatres in Benelux through Film Freak. It will be released later this year in Germany with I-On New Media and in Australia through Madman and Haut et Court has France.

SC Films (Simon Crowe's new sales agency) made deals before AFM, continuing the trend pointed out in this blog as the reason for "poor sales" reported at Toronto, that is, the majority of sales were made just before the festival/ market and are continuing still, as with Roadside Attractions pick up of The Joneses,which is being handled internationally by FilmNation. SC's Gunslinger was pre bought by Wild Bunch for Germany and Benelux, Scanbox for Scandinavia, Odeon for Greece, ECS for the Middle East.

Showbox/Mediaplex licensed Take Off to Amuse Soft Entertainment, One Dollar Distribution for China, Hong Kong and Malaysia, Catchplay for Taiwan and Horizon International for Turkey. In addition, horror title Possessed was picked up by Singapore’s Innoform Media, Malaysia’s Hua Yea Multimedia and Taiwan’s Catchplay.

Showgate has sold the hit 3D and live action film Paco And The Magical Book to Serenity Entertainment for Taiwan. The Cycling Genius Is Coming! (Shakariki!) to AV Jet for Taiwan. TV animations including Fist Of The North Star sold to Yamamoto for Italy and Mighty Media for Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan; and Casshern Sins to Odex in Singapore.

Sola licensed DVD rights Turtle: The Incredible Journey to Take Shobo for Japan.

StudioCanal has licensed the shortened feature version of Sundance Channel’s three-part mini-series Carlos The Jackal for US to IFC. The mini-series will air on the Sundance Channel in spring 2010. IFC plans an autumn 2010 theatrical and VOD release to a shortened version. Canal Plus will screen the film in early 2010.

Stylejam has sold Fine, Totally Fine to Third Window Film for the UK. Then Summer Came went to Cinema Valley for Korea, and Adrift In Tokyo to Evokative Films for Canada.

Summit has sold out on marquee titles The Beaver. Summit Entertainment will distribute in the US. Icon has taken UK and Australian rights, SND France,Telemunchen-Concorde Germany, Medusa has taken Italy, Aurum Spain, Nordisk Scandinavia, and Belga Benelux. Red rights have gone to E1 in the UK, Telemunchen-Concorde in Germany, SND in France, Aurum in Spain, and RCV in Benelux. The Ghost and Sorority Row went to to Dutch FilmWorks for Benelux. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group (SPWAG) acquired multiple territories to The Book Of Eli which now are Australia, Latin America, Spain, Scandinavia and select territories in Eastern Europe, Portugal, South Africa, New Zealand and much of Asia. Warner Bros holds North American rights and has scheduled a January 15 2010 release. Source Code went to SND in France, Kinowelt in Germany, Hopscotch in Australia and New Zealand, Aurum in Spain, Sandrew Metrnome in Scandinavia, Belga in Benelux, E1 in Canada, The Daisy in So. Korea, Sun in Latin America, Jaguar in the middle East, Fida in Turkeym Sahamongkol in Thailand, United King in Israel, Odeon in Greece, Sam Film in Iceland, and Optimum in the UK.
Tavix Pictures has closed deals on Hired Gun with Prorom for Romania and Phoenicia Pictures International for the Middle East. Tavix holds North American rights.

The Works sold I Am Love to Scanbox for Scandinavia the first morning of the market. My Year Without Sex went to Strand for the US.

Toei has pre-sold US-Japan co-production Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac to Hong Kong distributor Golden Scene.

Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) has sold Pandemic to Bona Entertainment for Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, and to J Bics Films for Thailand. Pandemic would be released Jan 17 in Japan on more than 350 screens.

Tornado Film has sold Goth, Grotesque, Twilight Syndrome - Cruise Of Death and Twilight Syndrome - Theme Park Of Death to Sahamongkol for Thailand.

Trust Nordisk licensed Cold Prey II to Indonesia (MT Entertainment) and Brazil (Flashstar). The Candidate has been sold to Indonesia (Mt Ent) and Poland (Syrena Films). Dark Floors has gone to Indonesia (MT Ent) and Love At First Hiccup has been sold to Kino Swiat (Poland).

United Pictures and M-Line Distribution pre-sold Woochi to Splendid for Germany and Benelux and Viscom Suraya for Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, and to China’s New View TV & Media. M-Line is handling European territories on the film while United Pictures handles the US and Asia.

Vision Films has closed deals on The Harder They Come starring Jimmy Cliff. with Isaan Entertainment in Spain, Arsenal Films in Germany and Dutch FilmWorks in Benelux. Xenon will release in the US.

Voltage licensed The Company You Keep to Luis De Val’s new company Wide Pictures for Spain.

We Distribution has sold Bodyguards and Assassins to E1 Entertainment for the UK and Canada, Cj Entertainment for Korea and Gulf Films for the Middle East by day 2.

Wide Management has licensed Two in the Wave to Les Films du Paradoxe for France, Cetera Films for Japan, Imovision for Brazil..all before AFM. By day 2 it licensed LaVida Loca to Fandango for Italy. Gigola presold to World Cinema for So. Korea. It is tipped for Cannes FF 2010.

Wild Bunch licensed Room in Rome to IFC for US. Other distributors of this remake of Chilean film En La Cama are Comstock (Japan), First Distributors (Hong Kong), Optimum Releasing (UK), Orlando Films (Israel), Transmission (Australia). The Good Heart went to Magnolia for US.

A quick review of IndieWire's other US pickups over the past month:
Sony Classics Has “Mother and Child”
by Peter Knegt (November 2, 2009)
Lorber Heads “Home”
by Peter Knegt (October 28, 2009)
Goldwyn to Bring “Life” to the U.S. in January
by Brian Brooks (October 27, 2009)
IFC Brings “Cairo” to the U.S.
by Brian Brooks (October 22, 2009)
Oscilloscope Brings the “Girl” to North America
by Brian Brooks (October 21, 2009)
B-Side Takes “Bill”
by Peter Knegt (October 20, 2009)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hof Film Festival, Germany Wrap Up -- Old & New

In the final analysis the 43rd edition of Hof is an important part of international film geography. It offers an intimate relaxed setting where recent German film school graduates can showcase their debut features and German film business vets can see who and what is coming up and can discuss their own issues among themselves. From the retrospective of Lou Castelwho was honored in person to the film which we honor here for its exemplary production value, casting choices and thoughtfulness depicting a beautiful young woman's possibilities for love and her simultaneous loneliness and to the final soccer match between the townies and the film folks, this festival was a great pleasure to attend.

A bit more on the 43 minute film we are discussing here. Streiflichter or Sidelights was financed by the Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). It was scored by Moritz Schmittat, a Berlinale talent written about in my blog about music in September, another evidence of the talented choices of the director-writer Lena Knauss, a graduate of Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. The star, Sandra Borgmann, is someone we would like to see more of and in a larger part than her last part as Ruth in The Baader Meinhof Complex. We would especially like to follow Lena on her journey into features because we see her on a heretofore little traveled road expressing deeply held and seldom expressed sentiments of a thoughtful woman with visual, story and dramatic talents. She seems to be pointing the way to a new thematic approach to female subject matter and internal struggles of female characters. At least we hope so.