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Toronto: IFC Close On Noah Baumbach’s ‘Frances Ha’ In Second Deal Of The Day

Mike Fleming

UPDATE, 12:19 PM: This is the time of a big movie festival when IFC starts taking off the table the titles that didn’t turn into big theatrical release auctions. The company made a big play Tuesday for the Neil Jordan-directed vampire tale Byzantium, and now the distributor is this close to closing a deal on the Noah Baumbach-directed black-and-white film Frances Ha. We’ll post when it’s final.

EARLIER: 11:19 AM:

TORONTO, CANADA (September 13, 2012) – IFC Films announced today from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival that the company is acquiring all North American rights to director Mira Nair’s THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST starring Liev Schreiber, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, and Riz Ahmed in the title roles.

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Venice: ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist’ Bows With Star Turn By Riz Ahmed; Curiosity High On Anderson’s ‘Master’, Malick’s ‘Wonder’

The Venice Film Festival kicked off last night with the premiere of Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Indian-born filmmaker Nair, one of 21 female directors in the main selection – notable after a year when Cannes saw zero in competition – said yesterday she felt she was “put on this earth to tell stories about people like me who live between two worlds.”

Based on the book by Mohsin Hamid, the story follows a young Pakistani man’s rise from Lahore to Princeton to the height of Wall Street success pre-9/11. A brunette Kate Hudson plays lead Riz Ahmed’s love interest. They’re torn apart as Ahmed’s character, Changez, is treated with overt suspicion and brutality by American authorities post-9/11. Disillusioned by the American Dream, he heads back to Lahore and becomes a teacher while local radicals attempt to recruit him. Liev Schreiber plays a journalist/spook who finds an uneasy kinship with Changez while investigating the kidnapping of an American citizen.

Nair won the Golden Lion in 2001 for Monsoon Wedding and a few days later was in Toronto when planes crashed into the World Trade Center. With this film, she said, “I sought to bring some sense of bridge-making between America and the Muslim world that goes beyond myopia and ignorance.” Ahmed, easily the biggest takeaway from the movie, said “Viewers will react differently. I hope the film has respect for its audience.” The actor is known in Britain for films that include Michael Winterbottom’s The Road To Guantanamo and Trishna and the recent drama Ill Manors by English rapper Ben Drew (aka Plan B), but he has yet to break in the States. I’d expect that to change soon. At the opening night dinner, admirers positively swooned around him. Upping the “aw” factor, he mostly spent the evening tending to his date – his mother. Read More »

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