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May 23, 2003 2:00 AM
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"Dogville" One Of Few Cannes Films To Find U.S. Home

"Dogville" One Of Few Cannes Films To Find U.S. Home

by Eugene Hernandez









Nicole Kidman as Grace Margaret Mulligan in Lars von Trier's "Dogville." Credit: Rolf Konow/Zentropa Entertainment

One day after the film opened theatrically in France, "Dogville" has been acquired for distribution in North America. Lions Gate beat out a pack of other suitors to secure the deal to release Lars von Trier's latest film. The pact marks one of just a few involving official selection films to happen during the 2003 Festival de Cannes.

The unique new film, the buzz title at this year's Cannes festival, stars Nicole Kidman as Grace, a woman on the run who seeks shelter in a small U.S. mountain town. Also starring in the movie are Paul Bettany, Lauren Bacall, Ben Gazzara, James Caan, Philip Baker Hall and Chloe Sevigny. Employing a distinctive approach to telling the story, von Trier stunned many festival-goers this week with his new film. After screenings on Monday, the movie became an immediate hot topic throughout the festival and even 24 hours later attendees were still debating its merit and message.

"Lars von Trier has crafted a brilliant, thought-provoking parable about tolerance, greed, trust and power, featuring a shattering performance by Nicole Kidman," said Lions Gate Films president Tom Ortenberg in an announcement from Cannes late Thursday. "And it is an honor to be working with one of this generation's most gifted and influential film artists," he added.

Few other festival films have found favor among buyers from the United States. As of Thursday, only Samuel Goldwyn Films had nabbed a film from the festival's official selection, Sue Brooks' "Japanese Story." Fortissimo, with Cinetic's John Sloss negotiating, sold the film to Goldwyn's Meyer Gottleib, Tom Quinn and Peter Goldwyn. The Un Certain Regard film was produced in Australia and stars Toni Collette and Gotaro Tsunashima.

"Young Adam," starring Ewan McGregor remains another Cannes festival film expected to find distribution in the U.S.

Lions Gate acquired the rights for "Dogville" from Trust Film Sales. Tom Ortenberg, Peter Block, President of Home Entertainment, Acquisitions & New Media, and Jason Constantine, VP of Acquisitions, negotiated the deal for Lions Gate, with Annakarin Strom, CEO of Trust Films and Kasper Soager, Manager of Legal & Business Affairs negotiating for Trust.

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