Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.
The dog days of summer are coming to a close as Venice, Telluride and Toronto gear up with dozens of titles that will eventually make their way to U.S. screens — at least those that receive a theatrical release. For Labor Day weekend audiences, a string of past festival pics are headed for their box office run. Sundance titles The Ambassador, For A Good Time, Call… and Little Birds make their bows this holiday. Austrian filmmaker Karl Markovics’ Breathing debuts in the U.S. after screening last year at Cannes. China Lion’s The Bullet Vanishes heads to North America, targeting Chinese audiences.
Documentary filmmaker Mads Brügger made a splash Stateside back in 2010 at the Sundance Film Festival where his The Red Chapel won the World Cinema documentary prize. His latest, The Ambassador, features the Danish filmmaker-journalist posing as a European diplomat as he goes under cover to investigate the blood diamond trade in Africa. “[We] were big fans of Mads because of Red Chapel, and The Ambassador was one of our big targets for Sundance this year,” Drafthouse Films exec James Shapiro said. “Corruption in Africa isn’t a revelation but he really throws himself in the thick of it and risks everything including his life to show an account of modern day colonialism. It hit us right in the gut and … next thing we know, we’re making an offer to Trust Nordic,” the sales company.