Palm to Unveil "Springtime" This Fall
by Eugene Hernandez
Palm Pictures has nabbed another foreign-language film for distribution in the United States. The company, founded by Chris Blackwell, has acquired North American and Caribbean rights to "Springtime in a Small Town," the latest film from Tian Zuangzuang ("The Blue Kite"). The company will release the movie this fall under its Arthouse Films label, with a DVD release scheduled for early next year.
"Springtime in a Small Town" marks Tian Zuangzuang's return to directing after 10 years. It won the Golden Lion at the 2002 Venice Film Festival's upstream competition and also screened at the Toronto International and New York Film Festivals. It is a remake of the 1949 film of the same name, described in an announcement telling the story of "what happens to a well-respected family when a stranger arrives in town and stirs up long-forgotten desires."
Credits on the project include Director of Photography Mark Lee Ping-bing ("In the Mood For Love"), production designer and art director Tim Yip ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), and screenwriter A. Cheng ("King of Children"). Among the cast are Wu Jun, Xin Baiquing, Hu Jingfan, Lu Sisi, and Ye Xiaokeng. The film was produced by Li Xiowan; the executive producers include Yang Buting, Han Sanping and Li Shaohong.
"'Springtime In a Small Town' is the rare film that establishes itself as an immediate classic in world cinema," said Palm's head of acquisitions and production David Koh in a prepared statement. "It is a great honor to include it in our upcoming slate of films, and it exemplifies the kind of director-driven work that Palm Pictures and Arthouse Films are dedicated to delivering."
The acquisition follows a string of recent world cinema pacts by the five-year-old, New York-based company. Among its latest buys are Baltasar Kormakur's "The Sea" and Dagur Kari's "Noi Albinoi" from Iceland, Claude Chabrol's "Flower of Evil," Claude Berri's "The Housekeeper," and Olivier Assayas' "demonlover" from France, and Oxide Pang and Danny Pang's "The Eye" from Hong Kong. The company is currently releasing Matthew Barney's "Cremaster Cycle" in theaters.
The pact, sealed by David Koh and head of theaterical distribution Ryan Werner, was negotiated for Palm by its head of business affairs Mark Ragone. Fortissimo Film Sales' Michael J. Werner, Wouter Barendrecht, and Winnie Lau sold the film, along with Andrew Herwitz of the Film Sales Company.
[DISCLOSURE: indieWIRE Managing Member and Co-Founder Karol Martesko-Fenster is part of the executive management team of Palm Pictures.]