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Berlin Fest’s Panorama Includes Films From Michel Gondry, John Michael McDonagh

Berlin Film FestivalThe Berlin Film Festival will ultimately line up 50 narrative and documentary features for its Panorama section that showcases innovative mainstream and radical alternative films. Today, it’s offered up the first 19 titles. Included among them are Michel Gondry‘s Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?, John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary and Tsai Ming-liang’s Journey To The West. Jalil Lespert’s biopic Yves Saint Laurent will open Panorama Special on February 7th at the newly-renovated Zoo Palast cinema. The Berlin Fest runs from February 6-16. Below is the list of Panorama films announced today:

PANORAMA
Arrête Ou Je Continue (If You Don’t, I Will)
France
By Sophie Fillières
With Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric
World premiere

Bai Mi Zha Dan Ke (The Rice Bomber)
Taiwan
By Cho Li
With Huang Chien-wei, Nikki Hsieh, Michael Chang
World premiere

Bing Du (Ice Poison)
Taiwan / Myanmar
By Midi Z
With Wang Shin-Hong, Wu Ke-Xi
World premiere

Calvary
Ireland / Great Britain
By John Michael McDonagh
With Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen
European premiere Read More »

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Protagonist To Proffer John Michael McDonagh’s ‘Calvary’: Berlin

Protagonist Pictures has taken on international sales for Reprisal Films’ Calvary from The Guard director John Michael McDonagh. McDonagh also wrote the screenplay for the blackly comic drama about a good priest tormented by his community. The director reteams here with his Guard star Brendan Gleeson along with Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids), Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes) and Aidan Gillen (Shadow Dancer). Chris Clark and Flora Fernandez Marengo of Reprisal are producing. Elizabeth Eves will serve as co-producer. The film is slated to shoot from late summer this year. McDonagh is nominated for a BAFTA award this Sunday for his Guard screenplay.

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Sundance: Sony Pictures Classics Acquires ‘The Guard’ With Brendan Gleeson

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Classics has closed a 7-figure deal for U.S. and Latin American distribution rights to The Guard, the Irish action comedy written and directed by John Michael McDonagh. The film premiered last Thursday and multiple distributors have been circling since.

Brendan Gleeson plays a local cop who begrudgingly assists an FBI agent (Don Cheadle) who is chasing the members of an international drug smuggling ring that has taken up residence in the Irish town. McDonagh, the brother of In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh (the pic’s executive producer), makes his feature debut. It’s the third deal of the festival for SPC partners Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, but the first one they made on the ground at Park City. They are distributing Morgan Spurlock’s documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Story Ever Sold. And made a sight-unseen preemptive acquisition of the Jeff Nichols-directed drama Take Shelter, the drama that stars Michael Shannon as a small town man who builds a storm cellar in his yard after dreams tell him that an imminent apocalyptic event. Jessica Chastain plays his wife. That drama premiered today at Eccles Theater and it has received glowing reviews.

UTA’s Rena Ronson and David Flynn brokered the deal with Metropolis Film Sales.

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Sundance: Screenings Start Very Sloooow; Buyers Circle ‘The Guard’ With Don Cheadle

Mike Fleming

On the second day of Sundance, buyers were beginning to get antsy. The first screenings generated moderate interest, but buyers haven’t loved anything and only liked a few films. So far, the consensus is that the unveiled crop of films can’t be released on a high screen count. Deals will be made on these initial films, but not rich ones. The most promising reaction so far came opening day for John Michael McDonagh-directed Irish film The Guard, which stars Brendan Gleeson as a cranky village cop who’s mismatched with a visiting FBI agent (Don Cheadle) because the drug smuggling ring the fed was chasing had taken up residence in the Irish town. By Friday night, three buyers were circling the film. The director is the brother of In Bruges helmer Martin McDonagh. The Guard isn’t quite In Bruges (which also starred Gleeson) but it is a crowd-pleaser.

Several buyers said that Margin Call, the JC Chandor-directed drama about the financial meltdown of 2008, was compelling but long.

The pic Martha Marcy May Marlene has the buying crowd talking about its star, Elizabeth Olsen, who’s the younger sibling of the infamous Olsen Twins and also appears in Silent House, the thriller directed by Open Waters team Chris Kentis and Laura Lau. But respect for a performance doesn’t necessarily mean a buy. Silent House is a haunted house story told in one continuous shot, which meant the cast had to perform it all the way through, like a … Read More »

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