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2011 Toronto Festival Fills Out Slate And Sets Maverick Lecture Program

Mike Fleming

The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival has filled out the rest of its slate, which consists of 268 features and 68 short films that will unspool next month. The fest announced that the likes of Brad Pitt (Moneyball), George Clooney (The Ides of March), and U2 (the Davis Guggenheim-directed docu From The Sky Down) will be among a long list of boldface names at the fest.

Toronto added 13 films to its Masters Lineup, including the North American premiere of Gus Van Sant’s Restless, and a Discovery Programme lineup that includes the international debut of the Dee Rees-directed Pariah, which premiered in January at Sundance. The fest also announced its complete lineup for Mavericks. It includes a discussion with Christopher Plummer, who stars in Barrymore, the Erik Canuel-directed adaptation of Plummer’s Tony-winning performance as actor John Barrymore; a conversation between Deepa Mehta and Salman Rushdie; a conversation with Francis Ford Coppola, whose Twixt plays Toronto; Neil Young and Jonathan Demme as they premiere the documentary Neil Young Life; Tilda Swinton as she brings We Need to Talk About Kevin to the fest; and a discussion with Sony Pictures Classics founders Michael Barker and Tom Bernard as their distribution company reaches its 20th year milestone.

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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: 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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