The Secret of Moonacre (2008) - News Poster

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International Presales of U.S. Indies by Non-u.S. Companies

I participated in a Dreamago panel moderated by WGA-West VP and USC film writing prof and an artistic director at the Sundance Institute Wrting Labs, Howard Rodman.

Other panelists included Vince Fischer who, having been educated and working in Paris, Montreal, New York in business and advertising, event production, and creating the endorsement agency GlamCom which initiates deals between celebrities and products, such as he did with George Clooney and Nespresso, has gone on to create Artistic Alliance Eci which represents screenwriters, directors and actors with offices in Beijing, L.a. and Paris, to match people and projects abroad. Daniel Hsia, the writer/ director of Shanghai Calling, (Isa: Aldamisa) a U.S. - China co-production distributed in China by China Film Group and in So. Korea by Sookie and due to be released in Norht America in 2013 works with Janet Yang and is eager to do more co-productions in China though he admits to difficulties with censors, etc. You can see the trailer of Shanghai Calling here.

Neil Landau who wrote Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, the 3D animated feature Tad: The Lost Explores from Paramount which is the highest grossing animated film in Spain's history and the #1 Spanish box ofice movie of the year, is now working on its sequel and another animated feature by the same director. His latest screenplay is being produced by Cary Brokaw for Avenue Pictures (The Player, Closer, Angels in America). He is curretnly developing an original miniseries for HBO for the Russian Market and a crime drama for Sreda in Moscow.

Paula Manzanedo-Schmitt is VP of Film Finances Inc. the world leader in completion guarantees. She has been involved in more than 1,000 films and TV programs internationally and in U.S. She spoke of the various cross-cultural requisites in film production abroad.

The discussion centered around whether filmmakers could make a film without the notorioius interference of studios (they should all be so lucky as to have this problem). In other words, the panelists discussed their experiences making films with Russians and Chinese. All agreed that working abroad, and especially with international sales agents who also produce allows for greater freedom of vision (although in China the reward is writng so that China censorship does not interfere because one has written to their specifications). All agreed also that there is a certain cross-cultural divide one must discover in order to work effectively.

My suggestions for finding a way to create without corporate interferences are listed below:

** Coproduce with Canada who has the most coproduction treaties in the world, or go directly to producers or sales agents who do not rely on treaties.

** Work with international sales agents who produce international coproductions which include U.S., or with the producers of those films who now have established track records.

Take a look at Level K, Tine Klint's relatively new Danish company which is preselling films from U.K., Canada and Australia:

Not Another Happy Ending by Brit John McKay 33 Liberty Lane by Canadian Peter Hewitt The Turning by Australian Cate Blanchett and Robert Connelly starring Emily Watson The Last Ocean by New Zealander Peter Young

French sales agent Films Distribution is selling

Marina Zenovich's doc Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out which Showtime acquired for U.S. TV. Citadel from Ireland has sold to Cinedigm/ New Video for U.S. and Mongrel for Canada. 30 Beats from the U.S. sold to Roadside Attractions for U.S. and Codex Media And Advertising Corporation for Turkey.

Other French companies are doing likewise.

Studio Canal is selling

Liz Garbus' Love, Marilyn - though this was picked up complete at Tiff 12. Don Mazer's I Give It A Year from the U.K. and produced by Tim Bevan. It began presales in Cannes.

Celluloid Dreams is selling

Greetings From Tim Buckley--U.S.-Tiff 12 Special Presentations World Premiere - Director: Daniel Algrant The Comedian a U.K. comedy by Tom Shkolnik Francis Ha - U.S. - Tiff 12. by Noah Baumbach Satellite Boy - Australia The Conspiracy - U.K.

Snd is preselling The Love Punch an English language French comedy

Wild Bunch is selling

Blood Ties written by James Gray, directed by Guillaume Canet, Cast : Billy Crudup, Clive Owen, Marion Cottillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, Producers: Alain Attal (Les Productions du Tresor), Hugo Selignac, John Lesher.

This very American sotry takes place in New York, 1974. Chris Pierzynski has just been released after years in prison for his part in a gangland murder. Waiting reluctantly outside the prison gates is his younger brother, Frank, a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, and their father, who raised them alone, has always favored Chris - despite all his troubles. Frank has known this since they were kids, and it eats at him like nothing else.

It has presold to Belgium-Lumière, Scandinvia -Scanbox Entertainment, Netherlands-Lumiere, Romania-Independenta Film, Switzerland-Frenetic Films, Turkey-Codex Media, Ukraine Top Film Distribution

Maniac by Franck Khalfoun U.S. English Horror, Writers : Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur, Cast : Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, America Olivo, Producers : Thomas Langmann (La Petite Reine), Alexandre Aja. It has presold to Germany -Ascot Elite, Japan - Comstock Only God Forbids by Nicolas Winding Refn from Denmark, in English has been selliing since Berlin 2012 and has sold to Bulgaria-A Plus Films Ltd., Germany-Tiberius Film Gmbh & Co. Kg, Hungary-Budapest Film (Distributor), Hungary-Mtva, Italy-Italian International Film, Korea (South)-Daisy & Cinergy Entertainment, Poland-Gutek Film Ltd, Romania-Independenta Film, Turkey-Calinos Films

Global Screen (Germany) has many English language films, some originating from U.S. and English speaking countries and others from non-English speaking countries.

• No Place on Earth (The Cave) by Emmy Award winning director Janet Tobias a U.S., U.K., German co-production. the doc tells the longest recorded underground survival story in human history, when 5 Jewish families descended into a pitch black cave to escape the Nazis for 511 days.

Hungaricom Ltd (Hungary) has the English language animated comedy feature The Secret of Moonacre and Immigrants - L.A. Dolce Vita both produced by Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo, and Gabor Kalomista, a Los Angeles based company with Hungarian born principals. The synopsis of Immigrants is worth repeating: More people immigrate to America than to all other countries in the whole world combined. Why? Is it because they love hot dogs and hamburgers? Or because they want to meet Snoop Dogg or have a close encounter with Pamela Anderson? Maybe. But the real reason is – immigrants go to the U.S. to chase the American dream. Immigrants is the story of Vladislav (a Russian), and Joska (a Hungarian). Both are immigrants and best friends, living and chasing the American dream together. Vlad has a daughter, Ana, who’s adapting to life in America at the speed of light, while her dad is in complete culture shock. They stay at the Vista del Mar, an apartment complex run by an old failed actress, Greta Knight, who is always after Vlad for sexual favors. The building is home to immigrants from all over the world: Flaco, a friend from Mexico; Mr. Chea, who runs a Chinese family restaurant; Nazim, a former Pakistani nuclear scientist who drives a tour bus; and Mr. Splits, an old black pimp. We follow Vlad and Joska in their adventures… through their encounter with the American capitalist company Glut-co, through their attempt to open a Russian/Hungarian restaurant, and as their friendship is put in jeopardy when they hit the L.A. night scene. All the while Vlad is looking for a way to make a life for himself and his daughter; and Joska… well, Joska is mainly looking for women.

If Niel Landau's adventures in Russia appeal to you, but you don't have the connections there, visit Rosskino and the L.A. based Eleonora Granata Russian Film Commissioner or produce in Russia through international sales agents which were founded by Russian-Americans who know both cultures such as Aldamisa (where longtime Disney acquisitons VP Jere Hausfater is now looking for projects), 108 Media who has Myn Bala the Kazahkistan submission for Best Foreign Language Academy Award nomination is Canadian owned, or Red Sea, all of whom are Russian – American and/ or Canadian owned.

Singapore is looking for Looking for copros and Icon has stepped up to the plate with James Wan Presents House of Horrors, an English language U.S. horror film now in pre-productions. In the aftermath of a horrific massacre, lead Detective, Mark Lewis, and the police department’s psychologist, Dr. Elizabeth Klein, question a suspect for the brutal murder of five college students. This has been preselling at Cannes 2012 (Line up), Afm 2011, Cannes 2011 and Berlin Efm 2012. Directed by Javier Guttierrez, written by James Wan and Max La Bella it will be distributed in Singapore by Cathay.

British companies are also packaging and preselling U.S. films:

Content is selling American indies 96 Minutes, Hick, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House Of God by Alex Gibney

Stealth Indie (Michael Cowan) is selling two U.S. indies, Crave and The Giant Mechanical Man

Bankside has a deal with New York based Killer Films for Innocence, now in post. This thriller is a modern-gothic vampire story where a recently bereaved teenage girl finds herself the focus of everyone’s attention at her elitist private school where life is steeped in tradition and ceremony.It has been preselling this at Afm 2011 and 2012, Toronto and Cannes 2011 and it has presold to Le Pacte for France, Videovision for So. Africa, Umut Sanat Filmcilik for Turkey, Shooting Stars for UAE.

Ealing Metro is preselling

Nina directed and written by Cynthia Mort, a U.S. production, a biopic about Nina Simone, a tormented genius who eventually finds love and peace. Produced by Barnaby Thompson, Stuart Parr, Mark Burton and Ben Latham Jones, it has presold since Toronto 2011 to Orlando for Israel, Entertainment One for Benelux, Cinesky has U.S. Better Living Through Chemistry directed and written by David Posamentier, a U.S. comedy now in post-production.A straight-laced pharmacist's uneventful life spirals out of control when he starts an affair with a dangerously seductive customer who takes him on a joyride with explosive consequenses involving sex, drugs and possibly murder. Starring Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan and Ray Liotta, produced by Felipe Marino, Joe Neurater and Keith Calder, it has presold to Metro Pictures of India. Bailout is being presold. One morning Matt Prior wakes up to find himself jobless, crippled with debt, convinced his wife is having an affair and six days away from losing his home. Bailout is a hysterical, heartfelt tale of how we can reach the edge of ruin and begin to make our way back.

Salt is preselling Welcome to the Jungle, a U.S. comedy directed by Rob Meltzer, written by Jeff Kauffman, produced by Justin Kanew and Luillo Ruiz and starring Adam Brody, Dennis Haysbert, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kristen Schaal, Megan Boone and Rob Huebel. A group of co-workers including Chris (Adam Brody) get stranded on a desert island when their nutty teambuilding coach (Jean Claude Van Damme) is mauled by a wild cougar. in the spirit of "lost in the wilderness" comedies such as Tropic Thunder and workplace comedies like The Office, Welcome to the Jungle is a rare beast in today's market: a comedy that delivers on the laughs - both the high and the lowbrow. It has already presold to Front Row for the Middle East.

Westend is preselling Joe which will start shooting this month be delivered in 2013. It is to be directed by David Gordon Green, produced by lisa Muskat and stars Nicholas Cage. Joe is the story of a man who becomes the unlikeliest of role models to 15-year-old Gary Jones, the oldest child of a family ruled by a worthless father. Together they try to find a path to redemption and the hope for a better life in the rugged, dirty world of a small Southern town. Joe is the story of the last hold-out of the cowboy age, when it was okay to shoot up a bar room or tell a lady what to do.
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Best and worst of Britain's subsidised film-makers revealed

Man on Wire's James Marsh among just three film-makers to repay lottery funding in full since 2006, according to recent report

Who is Britain's most commercially successful film-maker of the past five years – at least among those backed by lottery money from the UK Film Council? Take a bow, James Marsh. His Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire repaid 100% of its UKFC investment, and his chimpanzee documentary Project Nim is set to follow suit.

According to figures published quietly in Hansard last week by culture minister Ed Vaizey, only two other films since 2006 – St Trinian's and The King's Speech – have so far returned their lottery cash in full. Streetdance 3D is also expected to do so.

And who must own up to being the least successful of Britain's lottery-subsidised film-makers? According to the figures, that unwanted honour goes to Stephen Frears. Two of his recent films have received some £1.7m
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Explosive First UK Trailer & Full Synopsis for Ironclad

  • HeyUGuys
Warner Bros. have just sent us the very first trailer for new movie, Ironclad which stars Paul Giamatti, James Purefoy, Brian Cox, SDerek Jacobi, Kate Mara, Jason Flemyng, Jamie Foreman and introduced new actor Aneurin Barnard.

This trailer delivers everything I wanted it to and Giamatti looks fabulous!!

Ironclad recounts one of the most violent, pivotal moments in English medieval history – when a few good men fought against insurmountable odds to defend their country from a megalomaniac, blood-drunk king. Torn from the pages of history, the devastating battle for the castle of Rochester is a true story of honour, action and excitement. There will be blood.

The year is 1215. King John (Paul Giamatti) has been forced to sign the Magna Carta, a document that will ensure the freedom of men and form the basis of common law in England. Furious at having been forced to sign it, King John raises
See full article at HeyUGuys »

DVD Playhouse: September 2010

DVD Playhouse September 2010

By

Allen Gardner

The Girl Who Played With Fire (Music Box Films) Follow up to the hit The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo finds Lisabeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) and Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) joining forces once again as Blomkvist is about to break a story on Sweden’s sex trade, which leads unexpectedly to a dark secret from Elizabeth’s past. Starts off well, then quickly nose-dives into sensationalism and downright silliness, with a pair of villains who are straight out of a Roger Moore-era James Bond film. A real letdown for those of us who felt Dragon Tattoo had finally breathed life into the cinema’s long-stagnant genre of the thriller. Bonuses: English language track; Trailer. Widescreen. Dolby 5.1 surround.

The Killer Inside Me (IFC Films) Michael Winterbottom’s adaptation of Jim Thompson’s classic, and notorious, novel about the psychotic mind of a small town sheriff (Casey Affleck,
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

[DVD Review] The Secret of Moonacre

The Secret of Moonacre wants to be a fantasy, a family movie, and a story of female empowerment and destiny. They had so many things in their favor including Bridge to Terabithia director Gabor Csupo, a child actress with a feature already under her belt, a screenplay based on The Little White Horse, and the king of camp Tim Curry. The production had the resources and stellar cast to make this film exactly what they wanted, which makes the resulting film The Secret of Moonacre even more disappointing.

In The Secret of Moonacre, Maria Merryweather (Dakota Blue Richards) is sent off to Moonacre to live with her uncle Sir Benjamin Merryweather (Ioan Gruffudd) when her father dies. She is accompanied by her quirky tutor Miss Heliotrope (Juliet Stevenson). When they arrive, Sir Benjamin is a poor host to say the least. He is annoyed by Maria’s questions and forbids
See full article at JustPressPlay »

The Secret of Moonacre - DVD Review

The Secret of Moonacre is based on the novel The Little White Horse by British author Elizabeth Goudge. While not entirely faithful to the novel, this film directed by Bridge to Terabithia.s Gabor Csupo has a winning charm and is delightfully entertaining. Both those who know the book and those new to the story should find much to love in this beautifully crafted film. In the late 1800.s in England, Miss Maria Merryweather (Dakota Blue Richards) has been left a penniless orphan and is taken in by her Uncle Sir Benjamin Merryweather (Ioan Gruffudd) of Moonacre Manor. Maria and her governess Miss Heliotrope (Juliet Stevenson) are city folk, and living in the countryside holds all kinds of
See full article at Monsters and Critics »

Trailer for stunning fantasy 'Secret of Moonacre'!

Based on Elizabeth Goudge’s Carnegie Medal-winning novel The Little White Horse and featuring Victoriana romance, unicorns, princesses, and handsome dudes, this flick is out on DVD in September. Unicorns.

After 13-year-old Maria Merryweather's (Richards) father dies, she is left orphaned and homeless, and is forced to leave her luxurious London home to go and live at the mysterious Moonacre Manor with Sir Benjamin (Gruffudd), an eccentric uncle she didn't know she had. Soon Maria finds herself in a crumbling moonlit world torn apart by a hatred borne of an ancient feud with the dark and sinister De Noir family. Maria discovers that she is the last Moon Princess and, guided by an unlikely mix of allies, she must unearth the secrets of her past before the 5000th moon rises and Moonacre disappears into the sea forever.

Apparently, this novel was one of the inspirations for Harry Potter and The Narnia Chronicles,
See full article at Planet Fury »

Latest MPAA Ratings: Bulletin No: 2127

Here are the new MPAA ratings from Bulletin No: 2127.

30 Days Of Night: Dark Days Rated R For bloody violence, language and some sexual content. 31 North 62 East Rated R For language and some violence. 9th Company Rated R For sequences of strong bloody warfare, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use. Born To Raise Hell Rated R For strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use. Broken Lines Rated R For language and some strong sexuality. Cemetery Junction Rated R For language and some sexual material. Release Date: August 17, 2010 (DVD and Blu-ray) Dark Island Rated R For some violence. Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night Rated PG-13 For sequences of creature violence and action, language including some sexual references, and some drug material. The Girl Who Played With Fire Rated R For brutal violence including a rape, some strong sexual content, nudity and language. Release Date: July 9, 2010 Helen Rated R For language and brief sexuality.
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

trailer break: ‘The Secret of Moonacre’

Yet another film I’ve been noticing in adverts all over London -- as with Franklyn, my eye is always drawn to anything that smacks of science fiction or fantasy. This looks like a fairly standard children’s fantasy: the film may well be perfectly lovely, but it doesn’t seem terribly distinctive from many films we’ve seen lately. That, in the larger scheme of things, is not entirely a bad thing: It’s nice to see children’s fantasy enjoying a bit of a renaissance at the moment. The cast will draw me in to see the film, though: Tim Curry, Juliet Stevenson, Ioan Gruffudd, Natascha McElhone. Awesome all. And Dakota Blue Richards was fantastic in The Golden Compass. Oo, and it’s from director Gabor Csupo, who made the lovely Bridge to Terabithia The Secret of Moonacre opened in the U.K. on February 6; no U.S.
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

Dakota Blue: 'I get mistaken for Fanning'

Actress Dakota Blue Richards has admitted that she is often mistaken for her namesake Dakota Fanning. The 14-year-old, who stars in new fantasy film The Secret Of Moonacre, said that she finds it amusing when people got the pair mixed up but wasn't certain if War Of The Worlds actress Fanning feels the same way. "Yeah... people do sometimes [mix us up]," she told Digital Spy. "It's not annoying, it's just quite funny. I can imagine it can be quite annoying for her because I know that she's done a lot of films and she's really good and has a lot of experience." She continued: "I just think it's really funny when people mistake us because they get embarrassed and they're like, 'I'm really sorry, I didn't mean that!' (more)
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

Dakota Blue grateful for 'strong' roles

Dakota Blue Richards has revealed that she is keen to take on more "strong female" roles as she continues with her acting career. The 14-year-old star rose to fame after taking on the role of Lyra Belacqua in a movie adaptation of Philip Pullman's bestselling novel The Golden Compass in 2007. Richards is currently promoting her lead part in another fantasy film, The Secret of Moonacre, which is based on Elizabeth Goudge's children's story The Little White Horse. (more)
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

BFI London Film Festival unveils lineup

BFI London Film Festival unveils lineup
London -- Oliver Stone's "W." and Rian Johnson's "The Brothers Bloom" will both premiere in gala slots during next month's 52nd edition of the BFI London Film Festival, organizers said Wednesday.

Just a short clip of Stone's much anticipated "fair, true portrait" of outgoing President George W. Bush had a packed theater auditorium for the press launch braying for more.

Other gala highlights include Marc Forster's outing as a Bond director with "Quantum Of Solace" and Stephan Elliot's period romp "Easy Virtue," based on Noel Coward's 1920s social comedy.

Artistic director Sandra Hebron said that despite all the negative press and downbeat reaction coming out of the recently wrapped Venice Film Festival, cinema was in rude health and her event had plenty of quality to choose from for its lineup.

Hebron said this year's event had an "unprecedented" number of premieres and that London benefited
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Must See 'Martyrs' part of Tiff's Midnight Madness

  • The Toronto Film Festival announced the line ups for the Wavelengths, Sprockets Family Zone and Midnight Madness sections with names like Quentin TarantinoQuentin Tarantino
[/link], Jean-Claude Van Damme and Gene Simmons participating to the festivities, but to be honest there aren't that many films that peak my curiosity with the exception of Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs (see the picture above). A late 2007 pick up for The Weinsteins, this is the story of a terrifying cycle of violence that follows a group of girls. The picture is apparently so nasty, that France is almost banning the picture slapping it with a must be over 18 classification. Two other titles that I have a low level interest are a meta-comedy from director Mabrouk El Mechri. The action laugher Jcvd stars Jean Claude Van Damme playing himself in the midst of a post office heist. Cannes was bombarded by Cannes market advertisements for this project,
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Thandie Newton, Ioan Gruffudd cast in 'W'

Thandie Newton, Ioan Gruffudd cast in 'W'
RELATED: Elizabeth Banks cast as Laura Bush

UPDATED 4:18 p.m. PT April 6, 2008

The Bush administration is coming together -- and adding a key ally for good measure.

Oliver Stone has found the actress to play Condoleezza Rice in his upcoming "W," with Thandie Newton in final negotiations to star as the National Security Advisor-turned-Secretary of State.

Meanwhile, Ioan Gruffudd is in final talks to play former British prime minister Tony Blair.

Rice and Blair are the first non-Bush roles to be cast; Josh Brolin, James Cromwell, Elizabeth Banks and Ellen Burstyn had previously been cast as George W., George Sr., Laura and Barbara Bush, respectively.

Also notable is the fact that Newton, who was born in Zambia and raised in England, is a Brit, making her the first non-American to be cast for a role in the U.S. administration. Gruffudd is also a Brit and is, of course, playing one.

Newton has previously had roles in "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Mission: Impossible II". She's currently in Picturehouse's "Run, Fat Boy, Run" and stars in Guy Ritchie's upcoming mob pic "RocknRolla".

Gruffudd, known for turns in "Titanic" and the "Fantastic Four" franchise, stars in the upcoming period fantasy "The Secret of Moonacre".

Stone's "W" is expected to start shooting shortly, with QED and Stone's own Ixtlan banner producing and QED financing.

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