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Acquisitions

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    Skouras Gets "Swimmers"

    Skouras Films has announced a deal for U.S. rights to Doug Sadler's "Swimmers." The company plans to release the movie in major markets next year and Sundance Channel has secured pay television rights, in a deal negotiated by Cinetic Media. Melanie Backer, David W. Leitner, and Michael Yanko produced the movie, which won the Grand Jury Prize Award for Best New American Film at the 2005 Seattle International Film Festival. It debuted earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. The film is described as the "inspiring story of human frailty and individual strength in the face of a fracturing American dream." Tara Devon Gallagher, featured a...

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    Balcony Releasing Gets "39 Pounds of Love" and "Trudell"

    Balcony Releasing has acquired two new feature films for release in the United States and Canada. Dani Menkin's "39 Pounds of Love" is about a 34-year-old man who was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy and given six years to live. The film recently received the 2005 Ophir for Best Documentary, the Israeli equivalent of an Academy Award. "39 Pounds of Love" will open in New York City on Dec. 23. In "Trudell," which premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, filmmaker Heather Rae presents the story of Native-American activist and poet John Trudell. The film is expected to open in New York City and Los Angeles in January. Connie Whit...

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    Meadowbrook Formed For "Lobster" Release

    Kevin Jordan's "Brooklyn Lobster," kicking off the release on November 4th in New York theaters and then a national rollout, will be distributed by Meadowbrook Pictures, formed by the filmmaker and his brother. The film, which recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, stars Danny Aiello and Jane Curtin in the story of a patriarch facing the closure of his Brooklyn lobster shop and a separation from his wife. It was inspired by filmmaker Jordan's own family lobster business and the film is being presented by Martin Scorsese. Jordan and his brother formed Meadowbrooks Picture to handle the "Lobster" release and are working w...

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    IFC Films Executes U.S. Rights to "Pierrepoint"

    IFC Films has picked up U.S. rights to Adrian Shergold's "Pierrepoint" (formally titled "The Last Hangman"), which premiered at the recently concluded Toronto International Film Festival, IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring announced Monday. The deal was negotiated by IFC VP of acquisitions Sarah Lash and Sehring with Jane Barclay of Capital Films represented by Ronna Wallace. A release date has not been set, but a 2006 roll out is planned. The film follows the story of Britain's most prolific hangman, Albert Pierrepoint, portrayed by Timothy Spall ("Topsy Turvy," "Nicholas Nickleby"), who single handedly performed 450 hangings be...

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    TLA Takes Broadcast and Home Entertainment Rights to "Evilenko"

    TLA Releasing has acquired the North American home entertainment and broadcast rights from Blue Star Movies to the Italian-Russian psychological thriller "Evilenko," by Italian director David Grieco (who wrote the book on the story) and starring Malcolm McDowell. The film is a true-life account of A...

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    ThinkFilm & HBO Go For "Favela Rising"

    A deal for Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary's "Favela Rising" has been announced, with THINKFilm and HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films nabbing distribution rights to the movie. THINKFilm's head of theatrical distribution Mark Urman clarified that his company has theatrical rights, HBO has the first pay TV window and the film's producers have retained video rights. The doc debuted earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and follows former favela drug dealer Anderson Sa as he aims to establish a group that uses music and dancing to fight drugs and violence in the dangerous slums of Rio. A tragic accident threatens the movement and...

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    7th Art On Board WIth Breast Cancer Doc

    Udy Epstein's 7th Art Releasing has signed on to executive produce and distribute Linda Pattillo's "The Breast Cancer Diaries" featuring former NBC affiliate anchor Ann Murray Page's battle with the disease. Epstein closed the deal at the IFP Market last week in New York. Pattillo is a former ABC TV...

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    Miramax Set to Strike Again With "Tsotsi"

    Miramax Films is reportedly set to make its second acquisition under the new leadership of Daniel Battsek. The company is expected to close a deal for North American rights to the Edinburgh and Toronto fest winner "Tsotsi" by Gavin Hood. During the Toronto fest, Miramax acquired rights to the doc "The Heart of the Game". Hood's "Tsotsi", based on Athol Fugard's novel, was described by the Toronto festival as tracing "six days in the lonely, violent life of Tsotsi (meaning 'thug'), a ruthless, young gang leader." Miramax neither confirmed nor denied the pact this weekend. As of late Sunday night a company spokesperson emphasized in a brief sta...

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    Focus Gets "Opal Dream"

    Focus Features has announced its acquisition of North American rights to Peter Cattaneo's "Opal Dream". The company is planning a 2006 release for the family film from the director of "The Full Monty". The film is described as "the touching story of a young girl, Kellyanne (Sapphire Boyce) whose unshakable faith in her two imaginary friends resonates through her small hometown in the Australian Outback." It is based on Ben Rice's novella, "Pobby & Dingan" and adapted by Cattaneo. The film was produced by Lizie Gower and Nick Morris (for their London-based Academy Features) and Emile Sherman (for his Australia-based Sherman Pictures), in assoc...

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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 oth...

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