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by Brian Brooks
September 15, 2005 10:28 AM
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Miramax Grabs "The Heart of the Game", Roadside Goes "Wah-Wah," ThinkFilm Gets "Chong"

A trio of fest deals emerged Thursday at the Toronto International Film Festival, Miramax has acquired all North American rights to Ward Serrill.s celebrated Toronto doc "The Heart of the Game," the first acquisition for Miramax.s new president, Daniel Battsek, the company announced Thursday. In other biz news, Roadside Attractions nabbed North American rights to Richard E. Grant's "Wah-Wah" and ThinkFilm acquired worldwide rights to Josh Gilbert's "a/k/a Tommy Chong".

Michael Luisi negotiated the "Game" deal on behalf of Miramax with John Sloss of Cinetic Media and Liz Manne of Duopoly on behalf of the film. No theatrical release date was announced.

"The Heart of the Game" had its world premiere at this year's Toronto International Film Festival in its Real to Reel section. The film follows the passion and energy of a Seattle high school girls' basketball team coached by a maverick tax professor and tells the incredible true story of one player's fight to play the game she loves.

"I was captivated by this inspirational true story that follows a remarkable young girl on her journey to play the game she loves," said Battsek in a statement. It's a perfect title for the Miramax label and I believe that audiences everywhere will respond with the same enthusiasm as they did at the worldwide premiere in Toronto."

Grant's "Wah-Wah" opened last month's Edinburgh Film Festival and was a Special Presentation in Toronto. The deal was negotiated by Joy Wong, head of The Works International with Howard Cohen and Eric DArbeloff of Roadside Attractions. "Wah-Wah" is a semi-autobiographical coming of age at the end of an age story, set during the last gasp of the British Empire in Swaziland. Told through the eyes of young Ralph Compton, the plot focuses on the dysfunctional Compton family whose gradual disintegration mirrors the end of British rule.

Gilbert's "Tommy Chong" explores the U.S. case against Chong who was charged with manufacturing and selling bongs. ICM negotiated with ThinkFilm's Jeff Sackman on behalf of the filmmakers. The company is targeting a Spring release of the movie, to maximize a college marketing strategy.

[Eugene Hernandez contributed to this article, which was updated to include additional acquisition information.]

1 Comment

  • genartjeff | September 17, 2005 5:44 AMReply

    Too many of the films at Toronto depicted the violent underbelly of America. I was beginning to believe that it's all downhill for our culture of guns and discrimination.
    Thank GOD for "The Heart of The Game" for reminding us that good people DO
    exist - even in the face of adversity. Congratulations to the filmmakers. I'd also like to point out that AKA TOMMY CHONG also gave me warm fuzzies (un-influenced). Documentaries are the new escapist's cinema. ha - how ironic.