DAILY NEWS: More Cannes Deals -- Wong Kar-wai, Ken Loach, AtomFilms and WinStar Buy
by Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE
>> Cannes Competition Buys — Wong Kar-wai and Ken Loach’s Latest
(indieWIRE/05.17.00) – Though naysayers keep complaining about the quality
of this year’s Official Selection at Cannes, that hasn’t kept the
acquisitions from continuing. USA Films announced late yesterday its U.S.
acquisition of Wong Kar-wai‘s latest romantic drama, “In the Mood For Love,”on the basis of a three-minute promo reel shown to company executives.
The film, which doesn’t screen until the final day of the festival —
Saturday, May 20 — stars Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung as a man and woman whose spouses are having an affair with each other. The deal also includes a
first look option on the famed director’s next film, “2046.”
Explaining the reasons for purchasing the latest film from the director of
such lauded films as “Chungking Express” and “Happy Together,” USA Films chairman Scott Greenstein said, “Wong Kar-wai is a modern master whose work is already revered by critics and filmmakers all over the world. That’s a
strong audience base for any filmmaker to have, and we aim to broaden that
audience in America where Wong hopes to make a movie in the near future.”
[indieWIRE’s review of the film will be published next week.]
On Tuesday, British sales outfit The Sales Company confirmed the domestic
acquisition of Ken Loach‘s “Bread and Roses” by Lions Gate Films. Later in the day, the company also signed deals for numerous other territories,
including Taiwan, South Africa, Japan, and Iceland. The company was also
busy with two other films in production, “Before the Rain” director Milcho
Manchevski‘s, “Dust,” starring Joseph Fiennes, which sold to Spain and
Argentina, and Stephen Frear‘s latest, “Liam” which sold to Spain. [Anthony
>> AtomFilms Active in Cannes — Short Series Set, Acquisitions Announced
(indieWIRE/5.17.00) — AtomFilms is an active dealmaker during its first
year at the Cannes Film Festival, having announced a pact that will put them
in business with a roster of acclaimed independent filmmakers. Additionally, the company has acquired four short films that are screenings at the French Festival.
“Ten Minutes Older” is a series of fifteen, 10-minute shorts on the subject
of time that are being directed by filmmakers Bernardo Bertolucci, Jim
Jarmusch, Chris Marker, Nicolas Roeg, and Aki Kaurismaki, among others. The project is a joint production of Atom, MBP, Matador Pictures and Odyssey Film & TV. Production will begin later this year and all 15 shorts are expected to be completed by next Spring. According to the AtomFilms
announcement, the series of shorts will be released globally via theatrical,
television and the Internet.
“We are excited to be involved in such an innovative project which leverages
Atom’s existing new media and distribution expertise and continues to build
our relationships with the traditional film industry,” commented AtomFilms
CEO & Founder Mika Salmi.
Atom, which is already distributing Darren Walsh‘s competition short “Bone,” has nabbed rights to four films: Jocelyn Cammack‘s competition short,
“Better or Worse” (UK), Linus Tunstrom‘s competition entry, “To Be
Continued” (Sweden), Bruce Marchfield‘s Critics Week short, “The Artists Circle” (Canada), and Christian Ditter‘s German Next Generation Programme short, “Enchanted.” Walsh’s “Bone” is an Aardman Animations short that is part of the “Angry Kid” series which is currently being unveiled on the
AtomFilms.com site. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Winstar Pacts for Ducastel/Martineau Film and Documentary about Kurosawa
(indieWIRE/5.17.00) — Winstar TV & Video announced a pair of deals
yeterday, including the acquisition of U.S. rights to Olivier Ducastel and
Jacques Martineau‘s “Drole de Felix,” and a pact to produce, with
Thirteen/WNET New York, NHK and BBC ARENA, a documentary about Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.
“Drole de Felix,” which stars Sami Bouajila (“The Siege,” “Bye Bye“), debuted in Berlin and has been released in France, will be released
theatrically in America next year. The movie marks the second feature from
the filmmaking pair, known for “Jeanne and the Perfect Guy” starring
The new documentary project, entitled “Kurosawa,” is currently being shot in
High Definition TV and should be finished in December. Winstar will handle worldwide distribution of the doc, including a theatrical release in the United States. It will subsequently air on American TV via Thirteen/WNET’s GREAT PERFORMANCES series.
WinStar’s upcoming releases include the theatrical debut of two 1999 Cannes
competition entries, Bruno Dumont‘s “Humanite” and Leos Carax‘ “Pola X.”