Berlin: Warm Weather & A Record Deal Can’t Fully Thaw Market Chill; Is EFM Worth It?

Berlinale 2014 badgeWhile the normally freezing weather in Berlin is an annual lament, this year’s unseasonably balmy clime became a major focus of conversation. And, as they say, when people have nothing else to talk about, they talk about the weather… The notably lackluster European Film MarketGERMANY-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-FESTIVAL-BERLINALE boasted a small handful of buzz titles and only a few headline-grabbing deals. As such, the usual whispers of “Do we really need to be here?” grew louder in the last week. Another talking point was the early-in-the-market news of a shake-up at Exclusive Media, the production and foreign sales company headed by well-respected veterans Nigel Sinclair and Guy East. And, reliably, Lars von Trier’s director’s cut premiere of Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 was a head-turner, albeit for star Shia LaBeouf‘s pre-screening antics here.

Berlin: Slow-Forming Packages, Timing & Talent Issues May Lead To Soft Market

martin gropius bauDistribution consultant Jason Resnick mused yesterday, “It was the warmest Berlin ever, and yet the coldest Berlin ever.” Yet, no one was particularly shocked by the way business went here. Offshore and domestic deals were done, but folks roundly agreed there was a serious lack of oomph. As one exec told me ahead of the market, “Everybody is asking where the projects are.” Read More »

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Berlin Briefs: Mads Mikkelsen Western ‘The Salvation’ Rides To Buyers; $40M ‘Kong’ Mines Monkey King Story; More

salvationAs a very quiet EFM winds down, TrustNordisk reports it’s had high interest on Mads Mikkelsen-starrer The Salvation. After pre-selling BerlinFilmFestival_badge__140204155938the movie in Cannes, a sizzle reel of Kristian Levring’s western was shown to buyers on Saturday morning in Berlin, adding deals in Australia/New Zealand (Madman) and Benelux (Wild Bunch). A multi-territory pact is in the offing. The English-language Danish western is co-written by Susanne Bier’s frequent collaborator, Anders Thomas Jensen. The revenge tale also stars Eva Green and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Sisse Graum Jørgensen produces for Zentropa Entertainments33 in co-production with South Africa’s Spier Films and the UK’s Forward Films. The Scandinavian release is set for August through Nordisk Film Distribution. Read More »

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Berlin: Danish Helmer Janus Metz To Direct Action Thriller ‘Blowback’ From ’71′ Scribe

Berlinale 2014 badgeEXCLUSIVE: London-set action thriller Blowback is moving forward with Armadillo helmer Janus Metz in the director’s chair. Penned by Gregory Burke, writer of the hot Berlin Competition pic ’71, the film … Read More »

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Berlin: Idris Elba, Sam Worthington Join Noomi Rapace In Thriller ‘Alive Alone’

idris elbasam worthingtonAlive Alone, the Thunder Road produced drama that Protagonist Pictures is selling, was originally announced in Cannes with Noomi Rapace and Matthias … Read More »

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Berlin: Dimension & Radius-TWC Acquire U.S. Rights To Salma Hayek Thriller ‘Everly’

By | Saturday February 8, 2014 @ 6:53am PST

salma hayekAfter last night’s massive Weinstein Co acquisition of The Imitation Game, domestic action has perked up slightly today. Dimension and Radius-TWC have made a preemptive move on Everly, acquiring U.S. rights to … Read More »

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Berlin: Kino Lorber Acquires Sundance Prize Winner ’52 Tuesdays’

By | Saturday February 8, 2014 @ 6:31am PST

Berlinale 2014 badgeWinner of the Sundance World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award, 52 Tuesdays has been picked up for U.S. distribution by Kino Lorber. The company is planning a second semester 2014 limited release. Visit Films … Read More »

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Berlin Briefs: Frank Dillane Boards Bow’s ‘Maestro’; ‘Watermark’ Sells For eOne; John Travolta Is ‘Gummy Bear’

By | Saturday February 8, 2014 @ 5:39am PST

Berlinale 2014 badgeUp-and-comer Frank Dillane (Heart Of The Sea, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince) has been set to star in Maestro, the adaptation of Peter Goldsworthy’s 1989 bibildungsroman. Catherine Jarvis is directing the pic that starts shooting in the spring in Northern Australia and Vienna. Daniel Harvey and Bow Street Films partners Joe Jenckes and David Dickson are producers. The story centers frank dillaneon a talented pianist who moves to an exotic outpost of 1960s Oz and is forced to learn from the only piano teacher his father can find – an eccentric, enigmatic Viennese refugee with a shadowed past. The piano becomes a battle ground with volleys of Wagner and Hendrix alike thrown between the pair as the young man tries to make sense of his own identity and ambition to become a concert pianist while coming closer to the truth about the Maestro’s past. Casting is underway for the part of the Maestro. Craig Leon is producing original music for the film that will play alongside recordings by Chinese pianist Lang Lang, whose work was highlighted during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony. The soundtrack will be released internationally by Deutsche Grammophon/Universal. Dillane, who was recently cast in writer/director Gerardo Naranjo’s untitled new drama alongside Dakota Fanning, is repped by Michelle Braidman of Braidman Associates and WME. Read More »

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Berlin Briefs: Rob Cohen To Helm ‘Risk’; Umedia Digs ‘Deep’; Buyers Show Up For Competition’s ‘In Order Of Disappearance’

By | Friday February 7, 2014 @ 5:14am PST

BerlinFilmFestival_badge__140204155938Alex Cross and The Fast And The Furious director Rob Cohen is set to helm Umedia‘s action heist thriller Risk. A summer production start is eyed. The film follows a brilliant thief who’s sprung early from prison to execute a nearly impossible art heist. Reluctant to follow the same path that put him in jail in the first place, he’s drawn into a dangerous triangle with a crime boss and a beautiful and mysterious accomplice. Brussels-based Umedia’s Adrian Politowski and Karl Richards will produce with Tim Kwok, Ksana Golod and George Parra. The screenplay is by Eric Harlacher. Umedia International will handle sales.

deepIn other Umedia news, the company’s international sales arm has boarded Spanish animation studio The Thinklab’s family feature Deep. From a script by former DreamWorks story consultant Mike de Seve of Baboon Animation, the film is directed by Julio Soto (Fluffs!). Umedia is showing a sizzle reel to buyers. The story is set in a deep-sea world of the future where humans have abandoned the earth and the oceans have risen. An adventurous octopus named Deep, and his two best friends, angler fish Evo, and neurotic shrimp Alice, must set off on a perilous journey when an earthquake destroys their home. Deep is produced by Adriana Malfatti and Jorge Bazaco, Character development is managed by Spa Studios, the original story creators of Despicable Me, and the company’s owner Sergio Pablos who has designed characters for Disney’s Tarzan, Blue Sky’s Rio, Hunchback Of Notre Dame and Hercules. Read More »

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Berlin: Bill Paxton To Direct Adaptation Of Joe Lansdale Novel ‘The Bottoms’

bill paxtonEXCLUSIVE: Paradise City, the newly-minted production label of Paris-based Memento Films International, has tapped Bill Paxton to direct the adaptation of prolific author Joe Lansdale’s The Bottoms. The Read More »

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Berlin: Slow- Forming Packages, Timing & Talent Issues May Lead To Soft Market

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 1:25pm PST

Berlin Film Festival Movie SalesThe Berlin fest’s European Film Market kicked off today under surprisingly sunny skies. That’s oddly apt for a market that a buyer referred to this week as “a desert.” The exec was lamenting … Read More »

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Berlin: International Film Trust Hires Kevin Hoiseth As Director Of International Sales

Kevin Hoiseth 2In his new role at International Film Trust, the outfit launched at Cannes last year as a partnership of Benaroya Pictures and Miscellaneous Entertainment, Kevin Hoiseth will primarily focus on Asia and Eastern Europe. The exec was … Read More »

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Berlin: Vertical Entertainment Picks Up Thriller ‘Mindscape’ For North America

MindscapeThe company launched last year by Rich Goldberg and Mitch Budin has made a pre-emptive strike ahead of Berlin, grabbing all North American rights to the psychological thriller. Vertical Entertainment picked up the Ombra Films production Mindscape from … Read More »

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Berlin Briefs: Vera Farmiga Pirouettes To ‘Prima’; ‘Your Right Mind’ Adds Clea DuVall; ‘Take Down’ Casts Up; Buyers Like ‘Someone You Love’; Sophie Nélisse To Play ‘Gilly Hopkins’; More

BerlinFilmFestival_badgeVera Farmiga has signed on to star in relationship comedy Prima. Even Greenberg wrote the script and is directing the film that was previously known as Dance Of The Mirlitons. The film is prepping for a March start and … Read More »

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Hot Berlin Trailer: ‘Louder Than Words’

EXCLUSIVE: Epic Pictures Group is introducing Louder Than Words at the EFM here in Berlin this week. The drama is from director Anthony Fabian and stars David Duchovny and Hope Davis in the true story of John and Brenda Fareri. The real-life … Read More »

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Berlin: Memento Films International Builds Paradise City Label; Staffs Up In London

By | Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 5:48am PST

BerlinFilmFestival_badgeEXCLUSIVE: Emilie Georges’ Memento Films International and its production arm La Cinéfacture, are formally launching specialty Paradise-City-4K-Black-weblabel, Paradise City. The offshoot, whose moniker is a wink to the … Read More »

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Berlin Briefs: K5 Selling Bruce Willis’ ‘Vice’; Tom Hiddleston To Topline ‘High Rise’

BerlinFilmFestival_badgeK5 International has boarded international sales on futuristic actioner Vice, starring Bruce Willis. K5 Media Captial has also come aboard to finance with Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films. Shooting starts in Alabama next month on the … Read More »

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Berlin: Ewan McGregor, Tye Sheridan To Spend ‘Last Days In The Desert’

ewanAlbert Nobbs helmer Rodrigo Garcia is set to direct Last Days In The Desert, a co-production from Mockingbird Pictures and Division Films. Ewan McGregor has boarded to play the dual roles of a holy man and a … Read More »

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Berlin Briefs: Protagonist Selling ‘The Legend Of Shorty’; Icon Returns To UK Distribution With Big Slate; Content Has ‘He Who Dares’ Sequel; Memento Is ‘Energized’

berlinaleofficialposterProtagonist Pictures is launching international sales at the EFM this week on Angus Macqueen and Guillermo Galdos’ feature documentary The Legend Of Shorty. The film world premieres at SXSW in the Documentary Spotlight section in March. Submarine is co-repping the film for North America with Protagonist. Produced by Simon Chinn (Searching For Sugar Man, Man On Wire) and Andrew Mackenzie-Betty (Thriller In Manila), the film focuses on ‘El Chapo’, aka Joaquin Guzman, the most powerful drugs lord in history – and one of the world’s most wanted men. The near mythical figure has evaded capture for over 10 years, and is alternately described as a brilliant business visionary, an amoral and ruthless murderer, a revolutionary hero and a latter-day Robin Hood. The Legend Of Shorty is produced by Red Box Films, Twofour and Ronachan Films, with funding from Film4, WGBH Frontline, Discovery Latin America and BFI. Read More »

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Berlin: ‘The Lobster’ Nets Rachel Weisz, Colin Farrell

By | Monday February 3, 2014 @ 3:02am PST

rachel weiszcolin farrellThe Lobster is the first English-language film for Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose Dogtooth scored an Oscar nomination in 2009. Colin Farrell and Rachel Read More »

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