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Berlin: CAA Holding Back From Selling Domestic On Madonna’s ‘W.E’

The agency has decided to wait until the Fall before selling North American rights to Madonna’s W.E. following its Berlin preview on Saturday. It may either start negotiating at Venice or Toronto, I’m told. Optimum Releasing, the British arm of Studio Canal, is close to taking UK rights from sales agent IM Global, which is handling overseas. The deal should be done by the end of today. Village Roadshow has already taken Australia and New Zealand, while I’m told offers are in “over asking price” for France, Germany, Italy, Latin America, Russia and Spain. Abbie Cornish stars opposite Oscar Isaac as a modern-day New Yorker obsessed with the royal love story between Britain’s King Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) and American divorcee Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough). The pic is still in post and will be for several months.

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Berlin Day 3: FilmNation Takes ‘Shelter’; ATO Buys ‘The Woman In the Fifth’

FilmNation has taken overseas rights to Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter, which Sony Pictures Classics bought early on at the Sundance Film Festival. Michael Shannon stars opposite Jessica Chastain as a man haunted by his dreams who obsessively starts building a storm shelter in his backyard. But what he can’t tell those closest to him is what he really is afraid his dreams signify. Ad Vitam has already come on board for France. FilmNation will begin selling in earnest at Cannes.

… ARC Entertainment and XLrator Media Partnership have also taken U.S. rights to John Carpenter’s The Ward, the cult director’s first feature since the late 90s. Amber Heard (Drive Angry 3D), Mamie Gummer (Off the Map) and Danielle Panabaker (Friday the 13th) star in this shocker set in a 60s mental institution terrorised by malevolent forces. Doug Mankoff, Andrew Spaulding of Echo Lake Entertainment (Tsotsi) produce along with Peter Block of A Bigger Boat. XLrator negotiated the deal with Cinetic Media’s John Sloss and Echo Lake’s Andy Spaulding. FilmNation is handling overseas.

… And Blue Lake Entertainment Fund, an “8-figure” fund launched by Echo Lake Entertainment and Canadian financier Blue Ice Entertainment, is to finance projects on the books of Paris-based sales agent Celluloid Dreams. Blue Lake will finance projects budgeted over $10 million by proven directors with global appeal. Celluloid Dreams has a reputation of being one of the toniest sales agents in Europe, having in the past worked with directors Michael Haneke, Jacques Audiard and Francois Ozon. Celluloid Dreams CEO … Read More »

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Berlin: The World Likes Tupac Shakur

Mike Fleming

Morgan Creek Productions is doing well in selling offshore rights to Tupac, the biopic of rapper Tupac Shakur that will begin production by the summer with Antoine Fuqua directing. One might think a film about an American rapper who died in 1996 might be a tough sell outside the U.S. Not so. Morgan Creek has sold Canada TV rights to E!, Australia/New Zealand to Hopscotch, UK free TV to BBC, Benelux to Paradiso, Scandanavia to AB Svensk, South Africa to NuMetro, Middle East to Italia Films, Switzerland to Ascot Elite, Greece to Village Roadshow, Taiwan to Studio Solutions Group, India to Italia Films and Iceland to Sam Film. Universal is distributing in the US and Daniel Diamond, MCP’s president of International Sales & Distribution, continues to move territories in Berlin.

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Berlin: Weinstein, Icon Confirm Deal For Ralph Fiennes-Directed ‘Coriolanus’

Mike Fleming

Deadline told you February 3 that The Weinstein Company was acquiring domestic distribution on the Ralph Fiennes-directed Coriolanus, and TWC and Icon International have just announced the deal. Here’s the official release:

New York, NY, February 11, 2011 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that it has acquired from Icon Entertainment International (IEI) U.S. rights and Pan Asian pay TV rights to CORIOLANUS, the feature directorial debut of Academy Award® nominated actor Ralph Fiennes. A contemporary staging of Shakespeare’s classic play about the titular Roman warrior, CORIOLANUS stars Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Academy Award® winner Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Cox, Jessica Chastain and James Nesbitt.

CORIOLANUS will make its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival this Monday, February 14. TWC plans a 2011 release.

Said TWC Co-Chairman, Harvey Weinstein, “My brother’s and my relationship with Ralph stretches back many years and includes two of our most cherished productions, THE ENGLISH PATIENT and THE READER. He’s a brilliant artist, and we are honored and delighted to partner with him in bringing CORIOLANUS to American moviegoers.”

Ralph Fiennes said, “I’m thrilled that Harvey and TWC will distribute CORIOLANUS in the U.S. His response to the film was overwhelmingly passionate. He really embraced it. This has been a long road and I cannot think of a better company to do it in the U.S.”

Said IEI Managing Director, Hugo Grumbar, “TWC is the perfect U.S. home for Ralph’s

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Berlin: ‘Saw’ Guy James Wan Scares Up 8-Picture Deal

Mike Fleming

February 11, 2011 (Berlin, Germany) – Writer/Producer/Director James Wan has closed an eight (8) picture deal with the Icon Entertainment International (IEI), it was announced today by Wan and Hugo Grumbar, Managing Director (International) for Icon, at the Berlin Film Festival.

Wan who is best known for creating and directing the first in the “Saw” franchise of films which have gone on to gross over $850,000,000 worldwide, will produce two (2) horror films a year under the agreement with Icon. Wan recently sold the film INSIDIOUS to Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group at the Toronto Film Festival.

The first picture to be put through the slate is HOUSE OF HORROR, which is based on a story written by James Wan. Max La Bella wrote the screenplay. Javier Gutierrez (Before the Fall, A.K.A Tres Dias) is attached to direct with James Wan and Lee Clay producing.

“I wanted to have the creative freedom and the ability to work with really artistic film makers who can help me bring an original and innovative style of genre films to the public. Paradigm paved the way for this and we have chosen to partner with Icon who are a perfect fit for us,” Wan said.

Icon will handle worldwide sales for the titles and distribute in the UK through theatrical arm Icon Film Distribution. Paradigm and attorney David Fox rep Wan and Paradigm’s Motion Picture Finance Group will package and rep North American rights.

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Berlin Day 2: Strand Takes ‘Tyrannosaur’; Deepa Mehta Shoots ‘Midnight’s Children’

Strand Releasing has taken U.S. rights to Paddy Considine’s feature debut Tyrannosaur from sales agent Protagonist. The film won 2 awards for directing and acting at Sundance following its premiere in Park City. Optimum Releasing has already picked Tyrannosaur up for the UK. Brit actor Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum, Red Riding Trilogy) directs Peter Mullan as a violent self-destructive man who is redeemed by the love of a Christian charity shop worker (Olivia Coleman) – but she’s hiding a secret of her own

… Deepa Mehta (Water) has started filming Midnight’s Children, based on Salman Rushdie’s award-winning novel about twins born at the moment of India’s independence from the British Raj on August 15, 1947. Mehta has collaborated with Rushdie on the script. Sales agent FilmNation has already pre-sold the film to 20 territories including Australia, France and the UK.

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Berlin: Magnolia Acquires ‘Point Blank’

Mike Fleming

Magnolia Pictures has secured North American rights to the French thriller from Gaumont. It’s directed by Fred Cavayé and stars Gilles Lellouche as a man who races against time through Paris to save his pregnant, kidnapped wife. It also stars Roschdy Zem, Gerard Lanvin and Elena Anaya.

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Berlin: Echo Lake, Blue Ice Launch Film Fund With Pedro Almodovar First Up

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Echo Lake Entertainment president Doug Mankoff and Blue Ice Entertainment’s Steven Silver  and Neil Tabatznik have unveiled Blue Lake Entertainment, a fund to finance films with budget $10 million and higher. The 8-figure fund is backed by private investors in the US and Canada and will invest in up to four films per year. The emphasis is on commercial fare with bankable directors and casts. Blue Lake will have a non-exclusive relationship with Glen Basner’s FilmNation, which will handle foreign sales on select titles. Blue Lake’s first investment is La Piel Que Habito, the Pedro Almodovar-directed film which just wrapped and has Sony Pictures Classics aboard for domestic distribution. FilmNation is selling foreign on that film.

“The relationship with FilmNation is critical in helping Blue Lake identify and sensibly invest in commercially viable films,” Echo Lake president Doug Mankoff said. “While our first picture is a high-end specialty film, we fully intend to invest in genre and cast driven films.” Targets will be comparable to Echo Lake’s last two films, the upcoming John Carpenter’s The Ward, and the Demi Moore-David Duchovny-starrer The Joneses. Echo Lake’s other films include the Sarah Polley-directed Away From Her and Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi. Echo Lake’s management division, headed by Mike Marcus and Amotz Zakai, reps Carpenter, Walter Hill, Deepa Mehta, Michael Caton-Jones and Fred Schepisi. Blue Ice is a division of the Blue Ice Capital Group, which in 2009 sold off its film/TV production company … Read More »

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Berlin Day 1 Roundup: Emma Watson Goes From ‘Potter’ To ‘Perks,’ Twilight Saga’s Peter Facinelli Pens ‘El Chico Blanco’

Mike Fleming

Summit Entertainment acquired feature rights to The Perks of Being A Wallflower, with novelist Stephen Chbosky adapting and directing his novel. Emma Watson and Logan Lerman star in a coming of age story of a 15-year old crushing hard on a girl while he deals with his best pal’s suicide and other emotional issues. Shooting begins this summer and Summit Intl is selling offshore rights…Titan Worldwide set a June production start for El Chico Blanco, with Carl Franklin directing a script by Twilight Saga‘s Peter Facinelli.  Facinelli stars as a white outcast raised in the barrio who becomes the head of a notorious crime family. Hyde Park is handling foreign sales…W2 has launched as a new distribution company based in LA, Vancouver and Toronto. The principals are John Flock, Warren Nimchuk and Warren Fergus. Flock had been CEO of Peace Arch. They plan to buy completed films for distribution, pre-buy rights to packages and through affiliate W2 Entertainment Finance, can finance tax credits and other production incentives and fund cash flow against distribution sales and arrange gap financing. W2′s initial slate includes the horror pic The Woman, which bowed at Sundance and Shadow and Lies, which has James Franco and Josh Lucas in its cast…

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Director Madonna To Debut ‘W.E.’ Saturday

Madonna, the pop singer-turned-director, will be in Berlin this Saturday to present footage from her W.E. to overseas distributors. Sales agent IM Global will be screening clips to around 200 invited guests but has held back from making any pre-sales until now. This is a tactic which IM Global used successfully before with A Single Man. “We think distributors are going to get a huge buzz out of the quality of what they will see,” IM Global CEO Stuart Ford tells me. “Sometimes there’s no substitute for letting the footage and the filmmaker speak for themselves.” W.E. stars Abbie Cornish as a modern-day New Yorker obsessed with the royal love story between Britain’s King Edward VII (James D’Arcy) and American divorcee Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough). The pic is still in post and will be for several months.

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Berlin Adds ‘Margin Call’ To Competition

The Kevin Spacey/Jeremy Irons/Demi Moore financial drama joins 22 films in total, 16 of which will be competing for the Silver Bear. Unknown, the new Liam Neeson thriller with January Jones, will premiere Out of Competition at next month’s 61st Berlin Film Festival. That’s only fitting considering the Warner Bros movie was shot there. The 14 new films announced today join the 8 previously announced, including Opening Film True Grit and Coriolanus. Berlin Film Festival will run between February 10-20.

The festival will also be staging 2 special screenings. Jafar Panahi’s Offside will be shown on February 11 out of solidarity of the jailed Iranian director. And Werner Herzog will premiere his 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams about prehistoric cave painting.

In Competition

A Torinói Ló (The Turin Horse) Hungary/France/Germany/Switzerland
By Béla Tarr (Satantango, Werckmeister Harmonies)
With János Derzsi, Erika Bók, Mihály Kormos
World premiere

Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland (Almanya) Germany
By Yasemin Samdereli – debut film
With Vedat Erincin, Fahri Yardin, Aylin Tezel,Lilay Huser, Demet Gül
World premiere / Out of Competition

El premio (The Prize) Mexico/France/Poland/Germany
By Paula Markovitch – debut film
With Paula Galinelli Hertzog, Sharon Herrera, Laura Agorreca, Viviana Suraniti, Uriel Lasillo
World premiere

Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (Nader And Simin, A Separation) Iran
By Asghar Farhadi (About Elly, Fireworks Wednesday)
With Leila Hatami, Peyman Moadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, Sarina Farhadi
International premiere

Les contes de la nuit (Tales Of The Night) France
By Michel Ocelot
World premiere – animated film in 3D

Les femmes du 6ème étage (Service Entrance) France
By Philippe Le Guay (Le

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