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indieWIRE This Week: Berlin, Oscars, Acquisitions & More

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire February 12, 2010 at 8:51AM

THIS WEEK IN FILM: In Europe, the 60th Berlinale is underway as of Thursday. Back in the U.S., the Academy Awards race is shaping up to be a ex-spousal showdown, with everyone weighing in on who will take home the trophies. Meanwhile, throughout the week, a host of new films were bought up.
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THIS WEEK IN FILM: In Europe, the 60th Berlinale is underway as of Thursday. Back in the U.S., the Academy Awards race is shaping up to be a ex-spousal showdown, with everyone weighing in on who will take home the trophies. Meanwhile, throughout the week, a host of new films were bought up.

BERLINALE: With Sundance but a memory, all industry eyes are now set on Berlin. Thursday saw the opening of the 60th Berlin International Film Festival, which runs until February 21. indieWIRE's managing editor Brian Brooks interviewed director (and Golden Bear winner) Wang Quan'an who opened the festival with his latest, "Apart Together." Before that night's screening, Brooks sat in on a press conference where the seven jury members, led by jury president, director Werner Herzog, discussed this year's exciting lineup. In his Berlin diary, editor-in-chief Eugene Hernandez offers his list of the most anticipated films that compromise the three highest profile Berlinale sections: the Competition, Panorama and Forum. To get a clearer picture of every film screening at the fest, be sure to check out Berlinale '10:Guides & Grades, where you will find pages for each film in competition. Critic grades are soon to follow.

OSCARS: Nominations were announced last week for the 82nd Academy Awards. To no one's big surprise, Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" and James Cameron's "Avatar" led the pack with nine nominations apiece. Pitting the two ex-spouses against each other has proven to be a godsend to the press and cinema houses, as contributor Nigel M. Smith explores in Bigelow Vs. Cameron at IFC and Around the Web. Associate editor Peter Knegt goes one step further by predicting the acting awards. Favored winners Mo'Nique ("Precious") and Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") lead the pack with a 92% chance they'll each be taking home an award come Oscar night. And for those of you keeping tallies, indieWIRE has compiled the list of announced awards in Awards Tracker: An Updated Guide to Awards Season.

DEALS: The week got off to an exciting start when news broke that Yorker Films were back in business, with plans to release six to eight films theatrically each year. In film deal land, Magnolia Pictures acquired North American theatrical rights to Lucy Walker's documentary "Countdown to Zero" from Participant Media. Francois Ozon's latest, "Le Refuge," went to Strand Releasing for U.S. rights. The Hawaiian biopic"Princess Kaiulani" from director/writer Marc Forby sold its U.S. theatrical rights to Roadside Attractions, with Lionsgate handling the DVD release later in the year. The Academy Award-nominated documentary "The Cove" will finally make its way to Japan following an acquisition by The Works International, while the North American distribution rights for Beadie Finzi's Portugese-language documentary "Only When I Dance" were bought by Film Movement.

For this week's roundup of stories on indieWIRE, check out the links below...

NEWS

“I Am Love,” “Solitary Man” Among 10 Films Heading To DALLAS
The initial batch includes films starring Michael Douglas, Jesse Eisenberg, John Goodman and Tilda Swinton, and films directed by returning DALLAS Film Fest filmmakers Alex Gibney, Steve James and Tim McCanlies.

SXSW Announces 2010 Panels, Short Films
New major panelists added to the SXSW Film Conference include Michel Gondry, Quentin Tarantino, David Gordon Green, Peter Becker, David Wohl, and Susan Bradley.

Box Office 2.0: 10 Potential Late Winter Indie Breakouts
While there have been a few 2010-released bright spots - this past weekend new entries like “Red Riding Trilogy,” “Terribly, Happy” and “Ajami” all found decent debuts, for example - there certainly have not been any breakouts.

SXSW Announces Shorts Lineup
The festival’s feature film lineup had been announced last week, and includes festival opener “Kick-Ass,” directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Aaron Johnson, Chole Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Nicolas Cage.

SXSW Announces Over 80 Film Conference Panels
The stratospheric rise of Academy Award-winning visionary Michel Gondry is one of the great success stories of modern film.

REVIEWS

REVIEW | Haunted House: Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher’s “October Country”
With their backgrounds in visual arts, the directors are confidently able to use the crisp digital video imagery to maximize their subject’s expressive potential.

FEATURES

“Terribly Happy”‘s Ruben Genz: “I wanted to base a film in this powerful and hostile landscape.”
A thriller about a Copenhagen cop who moves to a small town after having a nervous breakdown, indieWIRE spoke to Genz about the film, which will continue to expand in the coming weeks.

Martina Egi Ventures into the Sahara in “Barefoot to Timbuktu”
The film chronicles Aebi’s journey as he returns to Araouane twenty years later to discover a vastly different place than the one he left behind. indieWIRE invited Egi to speak about her film via email.

That `80s Show Lives On: The Santa Barbara International Film Fest at 25
Though Sandra Bullock seems our contemporary, her work does date back to the early Clinton years, and the biggest tribute splash though he generated a disappointing turnout - was saved for the king of the world, James Cameron.

CINEMADAILY

BERLINdaily | “Tuan Yuan”; Anticipating Polanski’s Latest; “Metropolis” 2.0

cinemadaily | A Pro"doc"ative Weekend at the Movies

cinemadaily | Towards Berlin

cinemadaily | Zinn’s “People Speak”

cinemadaily | Bad Girls