DISPATCH FROM CANNES: Blackwell's Palm Busy in Cannes: Company Pacts with Clark, Also Acquires "PTU"
by Eugene Hernandez
Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures has announced a pair of deals here in Cannes. The New York-based independent film company is heading into production on a new film and also announced a deal to acquire a second movie as the Cannes Marche starts to wind down. Palm will produce the new film by Larry Clark and has acquired a film by Johnnie To.
Clark's Latest: "Kids" in LA?
Palm will pact with Larry Clark to produce the filmmaker's new movie "Wassup Rockers." The company has nabbed the worldwide rights to the project, which will be directed by Clark from his own script. The film will shoot in Los Angeles this summer and Palm plans to release the movie next year, with Fortissimo handling foreign sales.
According to an announcement, the movie "will feature South Central LA street kids in the leading roles and will follow the real life story of a group of largely Hispanic teenagers from South Central who - instead of conforming to the hip hop culture of their neighborhood - ride skateboards, listen to punk rock and wear their clothes tight." Echoing Clark's "Kids," the company has described the movie as a "Warriors"-type movie set on skateboards.
Palm in-house producer Richard Brown will produce the film with Clark, while the company's David Koh and Steven Lehrhoff will serve as executive producers. Mark Ragone for Palm negotiated with Irwin Rappaport for Clark and Koh from Palm also negotiated with Fortissimo's Wouter Barendrecht, Michael Werner, and Winnie Lau.
Johnnie To's "PTU" Nabbed
Palm has nabbed North American and Caribbean rights to Johnnie To's "PTU," which is playing here in the Cannes Market. To is the director of more than 30 movies, including "Fulltime Killer" (which was released by Palm), and "The Mission," "Running Out of Time," "Turn Left, Turn Right," and "Breaking News."
The film is described as a cop thriller that "focuses on a story of morality, ethics, and betrayal as a police tactical unit tries to make their way home in the midst of an all out gang war on the streets of Hong Kong pitting cops and investigators against gangsters and punks who roam the streets at night seeking revenge." The movie was nominated for 10 Hong Kong Film Awards and won six prizes at the Golden Bauhinia Film Awards, including best picture, director and screenplay.
Koh from Palm negotiated the deal with Sara Law of Mei Ah Entertainment. The company said yesterday that it would release the movie early next year, followed by DVD release after that.
"We are thrilled to be working with Johnnie To again and are big fans of his work and look forward to bringing his films to a wider audience," stated David Koh of Palm Pictures.
Palm has been an especially active distributor of independent and foreign films, including docs, over the past year. It upcoming films include Ondi Timoner's "DIG!" Christopher Boe's "Reconstruction," Pen-ek Ratanaruang's "Last Life in the Universe," Mark Moorman's "Tom Dowd and the Language Music," Michael Haneke's "Time of the Wolf," Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Bright Future," Lou Ye's "Purple Butterfly," Takeshi Kitano's "Dolls," and Tian Zhuangzhuang's "Springtime in a Small Town."
"2046" Ready for Spotlight
The concerns over whether Wong Kar Wai's "2046" would be ready for a Cannes premiere seem to have subsided here in Cannes. Festival organizers have set up alternate screenings of the movie tonight, alongside the gala premiere. The change has slightly shuffled press screening plans for some of the other competition films screening at the end of the fest, but media and buyers will still be able to see Wong's highly anticipated film before many start to head out of town tomorrow.