TLA Releasing Taking "The Man Who Copied" to Theaters, and Acquires Rights to Berlinale-winner "The Wooden Camera"
by Brian Brooks
TLA Releasing has nabbed theatrical, home entertainment and television rights to Brazilian filmmaker Jorge Furtado's romantic comedy-drama "The Man Who Copied," winner of six Brazilian academy awards. Starring Lazaro Ramos ("Madame Sata"), "The Man Who Copied" (O homen que copiava) centers on a gentle but aimless copy-machine operator who spends his evenings drawing comic book art, dreaming of making money and spying on an 18-year-old next store neighbor (Leandral Leal). Andre involves himself with the neighbor when she encounters trouble, and uses the photocopier to raise money in order to come to her aid.
TLA's director of acquisitions Richard Wolff negotiated the deal on behalf the company, while Tarcisio Vidigal, president of Grupo Novo de Cinema e TV represented his company, a leading international distributor of Brazilian films. "We were all enchanted by 'The Man Who Copied' when it was a lucky last-minute addition to the Philadelphia Film Festival," commented Wolff in a statement. "It is one of the finest Brazilian films in years, and we are extremely proud to bring it to American audiences at theaters and in their homes." TLA, which is a key organizer of the Philadelphia International Film Festival, plans an April, 2005 theatrical opening, followed by a DVD/VHS release for later that year. This will be TLA's third Brazilian title following Sergio Bianchi's "Chronically Unfeasible" and Sandra Werneck's "Possible Loves."
In other TLA news, the company said it will handle the U.S. and Canadian home entertainment release of its first African title, 2004 Berlinale Glass Bear-winner "The Wooden Camera," by Ntshaveni Wa Luruli for a spring 2005 roll out. The film, written by first-time screenwriter Yves Buclet, is the story of two young boys whose lives go in opposing directions in post-apartheid South Africa. Wolff negotiated the deal with Fortissimo Film Sales co-chairman, Michael Werner.
TLA also recently announced some staff changes in the wake of its growing catalog and releases. Head sales exec Richard Ross has been named executive sales director, and he will be assisted by newly-hired national sales manager, John Raisola. Ross, who joined the company in January, 2002, will be responsible for all North American sales and will work with TLA president Raymond Murray and Wolff in acquisitions. Also joining the team is production assistant Desire Spangrud, who will assist production manager Kelly Burkhardt.
TLA Releasing launched in May 2001 by TLA Entertainment Group as a boutique label focusing on American independent and foreign films with an emphasis on gay themes. By the end of 2004, the company will have released 14 films theatrically since beginning operations, including recent gay box office hit "Latter Days" by C. Jay Cox, with eight more titles slated for 2005.