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Berlin 2012: U.K. and Scandi Rights to Kevin Macdonald's Bob Marley Biopic Sold to Universal

Kevin Macdonald
Jemal Countess/Getty Images
Kevin Macdonald

Deals struck on eve of the film's Berlin Film Festival special screening by int'l sales and finance house Fortissimo Films.

BERLIN — Universal Pictures International Entertainment has struck a deal for all U.K. and Scandinavian rights to the Shangri-La Entertainment/Tuff Gong Pictures-produced Bob Marley documentary Marley.

The deal for the doc, directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald, was brokered by Nelleke Driessen, managing director of international sales agent Fortissimo Films.

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Lucky Red in Italy and Avalon Distribution in Spain also have sealed deals for the movie.

The feature-length documentary is scheduled for theatrical release in North America and the U.K. on April 20, then will go out worldwide throughout the summer to coincide with the 50th anniversary year of Jamaican Independence.

Macdonald (who won his Oscar for the 1999 documentary One Day in September), Marley's son Rohan Marley and Neville Garrick, a longtime collaborator of the reggae icon, were expected in Berlin to present the film Sunday.

The international flurry of dealmaking comes in the wake of Magnolia Pictures' deal for U.S. rights to the project.

Fortissimo also struck deals for South Africa (Nu Metro), Portugal (Lusomundo / Film & TV House), Germany & Austria (Studio Canal Germany), Poland (Best Film), France (Wild Side Films), Latin America (HBO Latin America Pan Regional Pay TV), Australia & New Zealand (Roadshow Films PTY Ltd), Benelux (E1), the Middle East (Front Row) and Switzerland (Elite Film A.G.)

Shangri-La and Tuff Gong, in association with Cowboy Films, produced the project.

“Bob Marley is one of a very few true international icons," Driessen said. "His image, music and messages of love and peace have crossed borders, boundaries and cultures and are as relevant in the world today as ever. We are extremely happy that the team at Universal share our passion for the subject matter and see the potential for this landmark project."