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CANNES ’06 MARKET DAILY: With Greater U.S. Focus, Fortissimo Takes Solondz’ Latest; Medieval Movie D

CANNES '06 MARKET DAILY: With Greater U.S. Focus, Fortissimo Takes Solondz' Latest; Medieval Movie D

Citing the deal as proof of its further expansion into English language, U.S. filmmaking, Fortissimo Films has announced a pact for Todd Solondz‘ next film. Currently only described as “The New Todd Solondz Film,” the movie will be produced by Ted Hope (“21 Grams”), Mike Ryan and Derrick Tseng with Fortissimo Films’ co-chairmen Michael J. Werner and Wouter Barendrecht serving as executive producers. The company said Saturday that it is beginning pre-sales immediately at the Marche du Film.

[indieWIRE’s Cannes ’06 Market Daily column is being published in the Cannes Market News print dailies, produced by Le Film Francais and the Marche du Film. 13,000 copies of the English-language publication are available in all festival venues, hotels and throughout Cannes.]

“My new movie is a kind of sequel to — or riff on — ‘Happiness‘, and to some extent ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse‘,” said Solondz in a statement issued Saturday. “Many of the characters from these movies unexpectedly beckoned to me, and so I have explored new ways of developing and enlarging their stories, with the intent to recast them from a fresh perspective. I am very heartened and excited that my script has elicited such unbridled enthusiasm and support from my producers and Fortissimo.”

Producer Hope, in his statement called the film, Solondz’ “most emotionally resonate and mature work to date — although it still had me rolling on the floor in laughter.”

Chatting with indieWIRE earlier in the festival, company co-president Wouter Barendrecht indicated that one of the biggest areas of growth for his sixteen-year old company has been the move into more American films and documentaries. Fortissimo, an international film, TV and video sales outfit, maintains a number of offices around the world and has increasingly invested in American movies. But he explained, a sales company needs to move carefully to avoid the pitfalls of rapid expansion.”

“It’s very easy to grow explosively in the sales business,” Barendrecht told indieWIRE, “We always make sure that we are not doing that. (We) look at expansion in an organic, natural way.”

Films like the new Solondz movie, not to mention, for example, John Cameron Mitchell‘s “Shortbus” and Gyorgy Palfi‘s “Taxidermia,” are also a key aspect of Fortissimo’s business, Barendrecht said, expressing a preference for films that are often challenging or provocative.

“(The) non-mainstream way of filmmaking, that’s what I am excited about,” Barendrecht said, “I am not interested in what I call ‘the airplane movies’. Something has to surprise me or make me feel that the director is the only one who could make this film in this way.”

Concluding, Barendrecht said, “A good film starts when you leave the cinema, sometimes that disturbs you or provokes you.”
[Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE]

A scene from Sturla Gunnarsonn’s “Beowulf & Grendel.” Photo courtesy of Union Station Media.

Union Station Media to distribute live action “Beowulf & Grendel”

Los Angeles based independent film distribution company Union Station Media has signed on to distribute Arclight Film‘s live action adventure “Beowulf & Grendel” in the United States. Shot in Iceland, the film is directed by Sturla Gunnarsonn (“Snakes & Ladders“) and stars Gerard Butler (“The Phantom of the Opera“), Stellan Skarsgard (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest“) and Sarah Polley (“Go“). The film is based on the Medievel epic poem that tells the story of Nordic warrior Beowulf’s battle with the onsetting Christianity in Northern Europe. [Kristina Woo/indieWIRE]

New Films International and Cascante Join Forces

Veteran producer/distributor/sales exec Gregory Cascante has entered into a co-production deal with New Films International. The collaboration includes a pact to co-produce on a yet to be announced list of titles, with New Films providing financing. The new team is currently working on a project to start filming in the autumn, which will be announced soon. [Brian Brooks/indieWIRE]

45 Minute Exclusive of “Home of the Brave” to Screen at Cannes

On Monday, May 22, 45 minutes of director Irwin Winkler‘s war film “Home of the Brave” will be screened exclusively at Cannes. A co-production with Millenium Films, Winkler Films, Emmett/Furla Films and Freedom Films, “Home of the Brave” stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and newcomer Brian Presley as soldiers coming home from the war. Rapper and actor Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent is in Cannes to promote the film. [Kristina Woo/indieWIRE]

Bleiberg Entertainment and July August Productions to produce action flick “Kirot”

LA based production and international sales company Bleiberg Entertainment is teaming up with July August Productions to produce director Danny Lerner‘s new action film “Kirot,” about the friendship that forms between a female assassin and a battered wife. To be produced by Ehud Bleiberg, the Entertainment Chairman and CEO of Bleiberg Entertainment, “Kirot” is currently in preproduction and is slated to begin principal photography later this year. Bleiberg Entertainment will be handling the film’s international sales. [Kristina Woo/indieWIRE]

“Dragon Tiger Gate” Announces New Foreign Sales

Hong Kong production and distribution company Mandarin Films announced four new international sales of director Yip Wai-Shun‘s “Dragon Tiger Gate,” starring action star Donnie Yen (“Hero“). The film was recently sold to Brazil’s Flashstar, India’s Indofilm, the Middle East’s Italia Films and Vietnam’s Cinebox. Based on the Manga Comics “Dragon and Tiger Heroes,” the film not only stars Yen, but will be co-produced by him along with Xu Pengle and Yu Dong. Yen will also serve as the film’s action director. He will be in Cannes to promote the film to potential buyers and conducting interviews. [Kristina Woo/indieWIRE]

D’all Angelo Pictures Take Italian Rights to “Arktos,” “Silentum” and “Sword” Also Snagged

Rome-based D’all Angelo Pictures has acquired Italian rights to “Adventure Arktos – Mike Horn.” Austrian cult film “Silentum” has been picked up by Films Sans Frontier for France, Venezuela and Scandinavian rights to “Shadow of the Sword” went to Nobel Films, Atrix Films/Sola Media reports. [Kristina Woo/indieWIRE]

Palme d’Or Winners to be Europe Day Guests of Honor

In conjunction with the European Commission for the 4th Europe Day, the Festival de Cannes will host the discussion “European Films Go Global,” which will explore ways to improve international distribution and profits of European films. Mentored by past Palme d’O-winning directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (“L’Enfant,” 2005), the discussion will include European Commissioner for Information, Society and Media, Viviane Reding, the President of the Festival de Cannes Gilles Jacob as well as other industry professionals and European Cultural Ministers. The conference’s conclusions will be presented to the press by Reding on Monday, May 22.
[Kristina Woo/ indieWIRE]

American World Pictures to Crown “The King Maker”

Los Angeles-based independent production and distribution company American World Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to Lek Kitpraporn‘s “The King Maker,” the company’s president Mark Lester and production president Dana Dubovsky announced Friday. Starring former professional boxer Gary Stretch (“Dead Man’s Shoes“), and John-Rhys Davies (“Lord of the Rings“), the film is the story of a Portuguese soldier of fortune (Stretch), who travels to the Far East in search of his father’s murderer only to become embroiled in a conspiracy to dethrone a king. Veteran choreographer and performer David Winters (“West Side Story“) is producing the film. [Brian Brooks/ indieWIRE]

“The Wild Soccer Bunch 3” Goes to 10 Territories

Family movie “The Wild Soccer Bunch 3” has been sold to ten territories, German sales company Telepol reports. The film, which is the best box office start of 2006 in Germany, have been sold in Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Russia, the CIS, Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. Meanwhile, Telepol has sold “The Cave of the Yellow Dog” by Oscar-nominee Byamaburen Davaa to nearly all major territories. The company expects pending deals to close with the United States, Canada, Argentina and Greece. The film recently won the Best German Film prize for children.
[Brian Brooks/indieWIRE]

“Never Say Good Bye” to Rapid Eye Movies

Dharma Productions has pre-sold their latest production “Kabhi Alvida Kehna” (Never Say Good Bye), which is slated for worldwide release in August 2006, to Rapid Eye Movies GmBh for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The film is directed by Karan Johar. [Brian Brooks/indieWIRE]

2006 Maverick Entertainment Group’s First Cannes

Independent feature film distributor Maverick Entertainment Group marks 2006 as its first year at Cannes as both a buyer and a seller, with four acquisitions for its US horror label Creep FX and a number of their own films on the Market for sale. “The Toybox,” “The Brink,” “Blood Descendants” and “Slip” have all been bought for distribution. Maverick will be in the Market selling films under their Maverick Global banner.
[Kristina Woo/indieWIRE]

Chinese Folktale Goes to Film

Asian television sensation “The Adventures of Super Monkey” is being developed into a feature film by Monkey Magic Production Committee. Based on a popular Chinese folktale, the production committee hopes to translate the television show’s popularity into box office success. Being called the “Asian Harry Potter” “Monkey Magic” will be released Japan in the summer of 2007. [Kristina Woo/indieWIRE]

[Get the latest from the Festival de Cannes throughout the day in indieWIRE’s special Cannes ’06 section.]

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