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Toronto biz buzz 2


As the Toronto Film Festival enters its final weekend, distribution deals for the coveted North American market have been secured on a number of key film titles.

Focus Features, the specialty distribution division of Universal Pictures, secured North American, Scandinavian and Australian rights for the UK film My Summer of Love, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. The film, which screened in Toronto in the Contemporary World Cinema section, tells the story of a summer encounter between two young women from different social classes. The film recently won the Michael Powell award as Best British Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

One of the most controversial films screening in Toronto, Swedish director Lukas Moodysoon’s A Hole In My Heart, has been sold to Newmarket Films, the high profile distributor behind such hits as Mel Gibson’s The Passion Of The Christ and the Oscar-winning Monster. The film, which chronicles the lower depths of an amateur photographer who uses family and friends in his shockingly depraved videos, has had international buyers and press buzzing for days.

Bob Berney, president of Newmarket Films, was quoted as saying that director Moodyson “is a fearless director with a distinct vision rarely seen in today’s marketplace….tis is an amazing film that will touch audiences and demand thought.” The film is being sold by Denmark-based Trust Film Sales, the sales division of Zentropa Entertainment, which created the Dogme school of filmmaking through the works of such filmmakers as Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg.

Argentine director Lucrecia Martel, whose first film La Cienega was a major international hit, will have her latest film The Holy Girl distributed in North America by Fine Line Features and HBO Films. The film is a beautifully rendered drama about two adolescent girls who are discovering their sexuality amidst an atmosphere of repression and religious fundamentalism.
The film has been produced by El Deseo, the Spanish production company of Pedro and Agustin Almodovar. The HBO Films/Fine Line alliance began last year with the joint distribution of Cannes Palme D’Or winner Elephant, and such widely respected indie hits as American Splendor and Maria Full of Grace.

Independent distributor Palm Pictures has picked up North American rights to the controversial documentary Gunner Palace, directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein.
The film follows a US artillery unit as it fights in Iraq and is one of several political documentaries showcased in the Festival.

Sandy Mandelberger, Industry Editor

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