Strand Picks up TFF Prize Winner "Simon" As Festival Concludes
by Brian Brooks
The Tribeca Film Festival concluded over the weekend with awards and news of a deal. Strand Releasing acquired North American rights to Eddy Terstall's "Simon" at its North American premiere at TFF. The company made the deal with Fortissimo Films. The film, winner of the best actor award Saturday night in Tribeca for actor Cees Geel, was the official Dutch entry for the 2005 Academy Awards and also won top honors at the Dutch Film Awards including best picture, best director and best actor. The pact was negotiated between Marcus Hu and Jon Gerrans of Strand Releasing and Wouter Barendrecht of Fortissimo Films.
Starring Geel and Marcel Hensema, "Simon" is a heartwarming and funny tale of two men, one gay and one straight, who have been life-long best friends and meet the ultimate challenge as one faces a terminal illness.
The Tribeca Film Festival presented its awards Saturday night in Lower Manhattan, with Li Shaohong's banned Chinese film "Stolen Life" awarded the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at TFF 2005, while Péter Forgécs' "El Perro Negro: Stories from the Spanish Civil War" won the prize for best documentary feature.
The other acting award winner in Tribeca, Duncan Tucker's "Transamerica" starring TFF best actress winner Felicity Huffman, is also in play with a pending deal. Insider buzz over the weekend indicated that a deal announcement could come early this week and will involve a high-profile company.
For a complete list of Tribeca Film Festival winners, please visit indieWIRE's Tribeca Film Festival blog.
[indieWIRE will publish a critical look at the films of the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival in Tuesday's edition.]