THINKFilm Takes Berlinale 2005 Feature "Fateless" for Early '06 North American Release
by Brian Brooks
Toronto and New York-based distributor ThinkFilm has acquired North American rights to the Berlin 2005 feature "Fateless," the directorial debut of Oscar-nominated cinematographer Lajos Koltai. The company's U.S. theatrical division head Mark Urman, and the film's producer Andras Hamori announced the pact yesterday. THINKFilm president and CEO, Jeff Sackman and Urman negotiated the deal with Hamori and Mark Horowitz of H2O Motion Pictures and attorney Doug Stone of Traction Media. The company plans to screen the film in the autumn 2005 film circuit for its North American premiere, followed by a theatrical release in early 2006.
Set in 1944 with Hitler's Final Solution well underway, "Fateless" is the semi-autobiographical tale of a 14 year-old Jewish boy in Budapest, who, in the words of a company release, "finds himself swept up by cataclysmic events beyond his comprehension." The boy is suddenly separated from his family as part of a frenzied deportation of the city's large Jewish population, and embarks on a dark surreal adventure in adversity and adaptation in a series of concentration camps. Following liberation, the boy confronts a general denial by both his Christian neighbors and Jewish family who escaped the deportation.
The film is an adaptation of the contemporary classic novel by Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész. "Fateless" opened highly successfully in its native Hungary in February, and premiered in competition in Berlin. Koltai is best known for his work on Istvan Szabo's 1981 Oscar-winning "Mephisto" as well as last year's Oscar-nominated "Being Julia." Koltai received an Academy Award nom for cinematography for "Malena," directed by Giuseppe Tornatore.
"'Fateless' shows us a vision of the Holocaust that has never before been portrayed on screen," said Urman in a statement. "It is a remarkable adaptation of a great novel, and the fact that Kertész himself has played such an important role in its genesis makes it all the more meaningful an experience." The film includes a screenplay by Kertész.