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Global Showbiz Briefs: Icon UK Makes Quartet Of Buys; ‘Autumn Lights’ On In Iceland; ITV Nordic ‘Keeping Denmark Alive’

icon logoThe UK’s revived Icon Film Distribution is adding to its release slate with four pick-ups from Cannes. IFD acquired JC Chandor’s A Most Violent Year with Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain; Equals by Drake Doremus with Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart; The Legend Of Barney Thompson starring Robert Carlyle, Ray Winstone and Emma Thompson; and It Follows, the horror pic from David Robert Mitchell that ran in Critics’ Week. IFD is showing itself a savvy buyer and recently released animated feature Postman Pat: The Movie which has grossed over $4M in its first 10 days. Read More »

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Ben Friedman Joins UK’s Icon Film Distribution As Acquisitions Manager

iconThe UK’s recently relaunched Icon Film Distribution has appointed former Weinstein Co exec Ben Friedman as Acquisitions Manager. The hire is the latest in IFD’s renewal since it received backing from investment firm New Sparta to return to distribution after pulling out of the business in 2011. Friedman was formerly VP of Acquisitions for TWC, and left in 2010 to consult for Newmarket Films and the Ben Friedman 1Exclusive Media Group, amongst others. Two years ago, he co-founded and became a producing partner in Native State Productions. Icon attended February’s Berlin Film Festival and is heading into its first Cannes since the relaunch. It already has a UK release slate that includes Mike Brett and Steve Jamison’s Next Goal Wins; Jim Mickle’s Cold In July; Lynn Shelton’s Laggies; Adam Wingard’s The Guest; Aussie horror pic The Babadook; Richard LaGravenese’s The Last Five Years; and Don Cheadle’s Kill The Trumpet Player. IFD CEO, Ian Dawson, says, “We are thrilled to have Ben joining the Icon team. His experience at the sharp-end of international acquisitions, instinct for finding exciting film projects and relationships with filmmaking talent will fit perfectly with Icon as we grow the business and seek involvement in projects in the earliest stages of production.” Originally formed in 1999, IFD previously released such titles as Paranormal Activity, 30 Days Of Night, Transporter 3, What Women Want, A Single Man, La 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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Global Showbiz Briefs: Prix Louis Delluc To ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’; Sergio Leone Heirs Launch Leone Film Group IPO; More

‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Nabs France’s Prix Louis Delluc
Blue Is the Warmest ColorFrance’s prestigious Prix Louis Delluc has gone to Blue Is The Warmest Color. The Cannes Palme d’Or winner directed by Abdellatif Kechiche is famously not France’s Oscar entry this year due to the timing of its release, but just nabbed a Golden Globe nomination and has an Indie Spirit nom as well as a handful of critics’ prizes. Cannes President Gilles Jacob oversees the jury for the Delluc award, which was established in 1937. Last year’s winner was Benoit Jacquot’s Farewell, My Queen. The best first film Delluc went this year to Vandal by Hélier Cisterne.

Sergio Leone Estate Launching IPO Of Leone Film Group
alamogoodbadugly_8The heirs of spaghetti Western maestro Sergio Leone are planning an IPO of the Leone Film Group to kick off Wednesday. The company is eyeing a listing on Milan’s small-cap market and, according to The Wall Street Journal, is hoping to raise about €17M with a sale of a 20% stake. The move is designed to help expand the company’s 400-title film library, its own production output and to sign more distribution agreements with U.S. filmmakers. The group has a deal with DreamWorks and also has picked up such recent titles as Ron Howard’s Rush and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street. Leone’s heirs, Andrea and Raffaella, are also looking to pitch their father’s brand to a younger audience. The pair has bought back rights to most of Leone’s movies and is now looking to make deals for spaghetti western-style areas in U.S. theme parks, the Journal report says. Read More »

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