9 items from 2015
Berlin – Like several of the Oscar best-picture nominees, the highest-profile — and among the bestselling – projects at this year’s Berlin European Film Market were based on real-life events: Im Global’s Mel Gibson-directed “Hacksaw Ridge”; FilmNation’s Nicolas Cage starrer “Army of One”; and “Gold,” with Matthew McConaughey, from Sierra/Affinity.
One all-too-real event, however, may be creating a niche market of its own: January’s Charlie Hebdo slaughter. It will take months for serious movie projects about the event to hit the pre-sales market. But, compounded by the decapitation of two Japanese citizens, one a journalist, by Islamic State militants days before the Efm’s Feb. 5 kickoff, the murders gave a suddenly tragic relevance to titles already made or just coming onto the market.
- John Hopewell and Leo Barraclough
Based on the true story of one of the survivors, the movie stars Stacy Martin as a young woman who was trapped in one of the suites of the Taj Mahal hotel during the assault.
Bac has pre-sold the film to major distribs, including Italy’s Rai Cinema, Japan’s Nikkatsu, Middle East’s Gulf and Indonesia’s Pt Cinema. Gilles Sousa, Bac Films’ head of international sales, is now closing the U.K. and Germany.
“We’re showing a first promo here at the Efm and it’s getting tremendous (interest): We even have people dropping by during their lunch breaks to see the promo because they’ve heard about it,” said Sousa, who added that, besides the attractive cast, buyers »
- Elsa Keslassy
Berlin-based Alamode has snatched up German distribution rights to Dagur Kari’s “Virgin Mountain,” which is repped by Bac Films and is having its Gala premiere in Berlin.
Bac Films has also sold the film to McF in Ex-Yugoslavia. A character study following a late bloomer’s coming of age, “Virgin Mountain” marks Kari’s follow-up to “The Good Heart” with Paul Dano. Produced by Baltasar Kormakur’s Rvk Studios, “Virgin Mountain” is expected to launch the career of Icelandic newcomer Gunnar Jonsson, who stars as an overweight, lonely forty-something man whose life is shaken up and ultimately transformed by a woman. Although the film weaves drama, romance and light touches of humor, it remains quite radical. “Once you have the ‘boy meets girl’ element in a film, the story tends to go on autopilot. It gets deeply foreseeable, and I deliberately tried to do an interesting twist on the cliche, »
- Elsa Keslassy
Oscar winner Jamie Foxx and Golden Globe nominee Michelle Monaghan will star in Open Road Films’ action thriller “Sleepless Night,” an English-language remake of the French film that will be directed by Baran Bo Odar, the company announced Friday.
“Sleepless Night” is the story of Vincent Downs (Foxx), a seemingly corrupt Las Vegas cop. When gangsters kidnap his son as ransom for a shipment of cocaine he stole, Downs races to save his son’s life without getting caught by Internal Affairs and before the mobsters discover that he’s actually lost the goods. Monaghan plays officer Jennifer Bryant, an »
- Jeff Sneider
Paris– In the run-up to its competition unspooling at Berlin, arthouse shingle Films Boutique has snatched up international sales rights to critically aclaimed Japanese helmer Sabu’s “Chasuke’s Journey” from Paris-based Backup.
Sabu is no stranger to Berlin. But while he has presented eight movies at the festival, it will be his first venture in competition. Sabu said he was particularly happy to finally nab a competition slot without having “to bend his sense of humor.” He added that his “partners (encouraged him) to prioritize his artistic values during the making” of the movie. Pic tells the tale of an angel who comes to Earth to save a woman after accidentally causing her death. “Sabu is one of today’s more daring and innovative filmmakers, and ‘Chasuke’s Journey’ is a film that could please both arthouse and genre-film lovers. It’s rare to see a film mixing fantasy, »
- Elsa Keslassy
Paris — Variety caught up with Nicolas Saada, a former French film journo at the prestigious mag Les Cahiers du Cinema and a screenwriter who made his directorial debut with “Spy (es).” For his sophomore outing, Saada is tackling the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack with “Taj Mahal,” a psychological thriller toplining “Nymphomaniac” star Stacy Martin as a young woman who was trapped in one of the suites of the hotel during the assault. Sold by Bac Films and produced by Patrick Sobelman at Agat Films, the $8 million film is based on the true story of one of the survivors, taking place over one night inside Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which was seized by terrorists who took guests hostage.
Variety: What made you want to make a film about this terrorist attack in Mumbai?
When I was promoting “Spy (ies),” I lived the Mumbai attack minute by minute. And it happened »
- Elsa Keslassy
Paris– Bac Films will turn the spotlight on a pair of French movies, “La Volante,” a thriller toplining Nathalie Baye, and Marie Belhomme’s “Musical Chairs,” a romantic dramedy, at the Unifrance Rendez-Vous mini-mart which kicks off Jan. 15.
Produced by Tom Dercourt’s Cinema Defacto and Luxembourg-based Tarantula,”La Volante” is directed by Christophe Ali and Nicolas Bonilauri — the duo behind “The Rat,” a San Sebastian player, and “Wild Camp,” which screened at Berlin.
Pic, now in post-production, toplines Baye as a grieving mother who lost her son in a car accident and purposely becomes the assistant to the man (Malik Zidi) who killed him and ran away.
“‘La Volante’ boasts three major selling points: it’s a suspenseful thriller, it’s made in France and it stars Nathalie Baye, who remains a well-known French actress,” said Gilles Sousa, head of international sales at Bac Films.
Script was penned by Jacques Sotty, »
- Elsa Keslassy
Snagging a Cesar Award nomination for Best Debut in 2010 for Espion(s), director Nicolas Saada has assembled an intriguing international cast for his sophomore feature, the thriller Taj Mahal. Stacy Martin of Nymphomaniac, Italy’s Alba Rohrwacher, British actress Gina McKee from Desplechin’s Jimmy P., and Louis-Do de Lencquesaing from Hansen-Love’s Father of My Children populate this India set thriller revolving around the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai. Formerly a critic, Saada’s film deals with an 18 year old girl trapped in the eponymous hotel, separated from her family when a terrorist attack rages outside. Meanwhile, inside the hotel, the situation is also dire.
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available.
Release Date: With the buzz surrounding Saada’s sophomore film, »
- Nicholas Bell
Stars: Tomer Sisley, Serge Riaboukine, Julien Boisselier, Joey Starr, Laurent Stocker, Birol Ünel, Lizzie Brocheré, Samy Seghir, Dominique Bettenfeld, Adel Bencherif, Catalina Denis, Pom Klementieff, Vincent Bersoulle, Olivier Massart | Written by Frédéric Jardin, Nicolas Saada, Olivier Douyère | Directed by Frédéric Jardin
A cop’s secret life is threatened to be exposed when he and his partner are seen stealing drugs from a powerful drug dealer. When his son is kidnapped and the drug dealer demands the return of what was stolen, the cop must figure out how to get the drugs into the right hands, protect his son and keep his secret from the other police officers who are on his tail. It looks as if it is going to be a long, sleepless night.
Sleepless Night shows us that French people can be badass too. Others have compared this film to Die Hard, which is understandable as there are many similarities. »
- Richard Axtell
9 items from 2015
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