Mira Nair‘s The Reluctant Fundamentalist will open the 69th edition of the Venice International Film Festival in the movie’s world premiere. Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Martin Donovan, Om Puri and Shabana Azmi star in the out-of-competition adaptation of the bestselling novel about a young Pakistani working on Wall Street when 9/11 shatters his bright future and plunges him into doubts about all he thought he know. Movie was adapted by William Wheeler from the 2007 novel by Mohsin Hamid. With a score featuring new music by Peter Gabriel, the movie shot in Lahore, Delhi, Istanbul, New York and Atlanta. Festival director Alberto Barbera said that Nair, who won Venice’s Golden Lion in 2001 for Monsoon Wedding, “has made an exemplary film adaptation of a novel that deals with the topical issue of fundamentalisms of any kind or nature.” Nair collaborator Lydia Dean Pilcher produced the Mirabai Films and Cine Mosaic production with backing by the Qatar-based Doha Film Institute. It will be Nair’s fifth movie at Venice but her first to open the fest. K5 International is handling international rights with Hal Sadoff for DFI and Bart Walker of Cinetic handling North American rights.
The King’s Speech scored eight British Independent Film Award nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and two Best Supporting Actor nominations. The other nominees for Best Film include Four Lions, Kick-Ass, Monsters and Never Let Me Go. In the acting categories, Jim Broadbent (Another Year), Riz Ahmed (Four Lions), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Scoot McNairy (Monsters) and Aidan Gillen (Treacle Junior) received nominations. The Best Actress race is between Manjinder Virk (The Arbor), Ruth Sheen (Another Year), Andrea Riseborough (Brighton Rock), Sally Hawkins (Made in Dagenham) and Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go). Winners will be announced on December 5th. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will present Annette Bening with the American Riviera Award. She’ll be honored at the Arlington Theatre on January 28.
Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications has brought the Doha Film Institute aboard as a co-producer of Black Gold, the Jean-Jacques Annaud-directed feature that began production in Tunisia on October 18. DFI, making its first foray into a major international feature production, will provide a mix of equity, services and locations. Even though the $55 million picture is directed by a French helmer, Black Gold is shaping up to be groundbreaking for a film that is back by Arabs with subject matter about them. An adaptation of the Hans Reusch novel The Great Thirst, Black Gold stars Antonio Banderas, Tahar Rahim, Mark Strong, Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed and Liya Kebede. The drama is about the rivalry between two Emirs in Arabia in the 1930s, just as oil is being discovered, and the rise of a young dynamic leader who unites the various tribes of the desert kingdoms. The film is being earmarked for Christmas, 2011 release, and Warner Bros has signed on to distribute in France, UK, Latin America and the Middle East, while Universal Pictures International will release it in Germany and Spain and Quinta’s Eagle Pictures has Italy.
Warner Bros and Universal are sharing territories on Tunisian entrepreneur Tarak Ben Ammar’s next feature Black Gold. The story revolves around the rivalry between Arabian rulers in the 1930s just as oil is being discovered, and the rise of a young, dynamic leader who unites the various tribes of the desert kingdoms. Filming begins in Tunisia on October 18, with shooting taking place in Ben Ammar’s Empire Studios and on location in Tunisia. Tahar Rahim (A Prophet), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Riz Ahmed and Liya Kebede star along with Banderas. Jean-Jacques Annaud (Enemy at the Gate, Seven Years In Tibet) will direct, based on the screenplay by Menno Meyjes (Empire of the Sun, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Warner will distribute in France, the UK, Latin America and the Middle East. Universal Pictures International (UPI) is releasing the film in Germany and Spain. Quinta Communications’ Eagle Pictures is handling distribution in Italy. Quinta says remaining territories are being finalised for a worldwide Christmas 2011 release. Ben Ammar, who sits on the board of The Weinstein Company, most recently co-produced Rachid Bouchareb’s Outside the Law.