AFM digest: 'Funeral' procession moving swiftly


'Funeral' procession moving swiftly
Kimmel International has sealed a slew of territory deals across its slate, headlined by agreements for its Frank Oz-directed comedy "Death at a Funeral," the company said Saturday. Kimmel International president Mark Lindsay said "Death," which will be distributed in the U.S. by MGM, has sold to Concorde TeleMuenchen for Germany, Da Planeta in Spain and Mikado in Italy. Nu Metro has snapped up the movie for South Africa. Lindsay said he is in negotiations with "several interested U.K. distributors" for the movie, which stars Matthew Macfadyen, Peter Dinklage and Ewen Bremner in the tale of a dysfunctional British family in the wake of the death of the father. Kimmel has also struck a deal with Mikado for Italian distribution rights to "Breach," an FBI thriller starring Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe and Laura Linney. Focus has U.S. rights to the title.

Mortagne, Terryn find Paradiso
Paradiso Filmed Entertainment, a leading distributor in Belgium and Luxemburg, has appointed Olivier Mortagne its new head of international acquisitions and Patrick Terryn its new chief operating officer, the company said in a statement at the American Film Market. Mortagne has helped Paradiso at markets and festivals for five years and assisted the company with acquisition and distribution. Paradiso's upcoming releases include "Number 23," "Fur" and "Hors de Prix." Terryn comes to Paradiso from Kineopolis Group in Europe, where he was head of theatrical bookings, launched Kineopolis exhibitions in Poland, and led programming for the company's multiplexes in Poland, Switzerland, France and Belgium.

Whole new League for Vrana
European-based soccer agent Miro Vrana, who has turned his hand to filmmaking in recent years with his Australian production shingle Vrana Pictures, is aiming to score with new production banner Cinema League. Vrana has teamed with producer-manager Julia Brunton and artist-writer Adrienne McQueen on the venture. Based in Los Angeles, the trio will kick off the production company with "Hometown Blues," directed by Australian Nadia Tass. Cinema League plans to develop, finance and produce up to three titles a year with budgets in the $5 million-$20 million range. "Hometown Blues," about a black American teen who ends up playing Australian Rules Football after his father is injured working on an oil rig off Melbourne, is scheduled to begin principal photography this spring.

Hong Kong fest expands scope
The 31st edition of the Hong Kong International Film Festival will expand beyond its traditional Asian focus to include new talents from the developing world, executive director Peter Tsi told buyers at the American Film Market. Tsi said six to seven Romanian films by first-time directors and several Latin American debut works will be invited to the festival, which will run for 18 days starting March 20 -- earlier than usual to coincide with the adjacent Hong Kong Filmart. "By inviting in new world talents, we are carrying on the tradition we started in the early 1980s when we exposed the world to China's fifth generation," Tsi said, referring to mainland directors like Chen Kaige, whose "Yellow Earth" wowed critics at HKIFF in 1984.
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