ARP takes French rights to 'Eye'

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HONG KONG -- French film distributor ARP Selection bought all French-speaking rights to "Eye in the Sky," the Hong Kong International Film Festival opener by first-time director Yau Nai Hoi, from Fortissimo Films.

The deal for the Sundream Motion Pictures title, concluded late Tuesday at the Festival's parallel Hong Kong Filmart, was signed by Fortissimo's co-chairman Wouter Barendrecht and ARP's Michele Halberstadt.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Halberstadt said ARP was "blown away" by "Eye." "It's a fast-paced and intense thriller, wonderfully acted, beautifully framed, which manages to capture the hectic pulse of Hong Kong," Halberstadt said.

Fortissimo's Barendrecht said "ARP's passion for Asian cinema is intense," adding that he was "delighted" to have worked with ARP on Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai's "Shanghai Dreams" (2005).

"Eye" director Yau also is a writer whose script for Hong Kong director Johnnie To's "Election" won him the Taiwan Golden Horse award for best screenplay in 2005. He also won two screenwriting prizes at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

"Eye" premiered to critical acclaim at the Berlin International Film Festival in February.

The cast of "Eye" includes Tony Leung Ka Fai and Simon Yam, who both starred in "Election," and newcomer Kate Tsui. To's Milkyway Image produced "Eye."

ARP, founded in 1931, has long specialized in distributing art house films, including "Qiu Jiu" from Zhang Yimou and the Cannes Palme d'Or winner "Farewell My Concubine" from Chen Kaige. In 1997, it produced its first movie, "Rosetta," and won a second Palme d'Or.
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