Digest: Van Damme does 'Van Damage'

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Jean-Claude Van Damme will flex his famous "muscles from Brussels" for Gallic production, distribution and international sales company Gaumont. The first French-language film for the Belgian-born action superstar, "Van Damage" is set to start shooting Sept. 15. Mabrouk El Mechri, director of 2005's "Virgil" featuring the late Jean-Pierre Cassel, is on board to helm the tale of a failing action star who gets mixed up in a real bank robbery in Hollywood. Exec producer Marc Fiszman of Bankable Films is hoping for a success along the lines of his 2006 release "Jean-Philippe," which attracted more than 1.3 million spectators in France. A U.S. remake of the film directed by Laurent Tuel is in the works. Gaumont has a teaser available at the market and is hoping to attract buzz for the project.

Ratner, Jones team for Brazilian 'Carnaval'

Brett Ratner and Quincy Jones are gearing up to bring the world's biggest party to 3D screens. The "Rush Hour" director will helm "Carnaval 3D: The Magic & the Music," about the annual celebration in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A U.S.-Brazil co-production, Jones will serve as the film's tour guide, highlighting the festival's music, dance and costume. Filming is due to begin in the fall. "Carnaval 3D" will be produced by Quincy Jones Prods., Mark Ross and Roger Kass, working with Tycoon Studios, the largest video production company in Rio de Janeiro. Capitol Films will handle international sales, and the producers will handle North American.

'Breath' again and 'The Band' plays on

Two hot titles are getting additional screenings to meet demand from buyers and the media at the Festival de Cannes, sales agents said Monday. South Korean director Kim Ki-duk's competition film "Breath" (Soom), about the love between a spurned spouse and a Death Row convict, will have a second additional screening today at 5 p.m. in the Theatre Bunuel, sales agent Cineclick said. This week, Cineclick sold rights to "Breath" in Argentina (Distribution Co.), the Baltics (Lietuvos Kinas), Poland (SPI) and Turkey (BIR). French rights were presold sold to ARP at the American Film Market in November, and most other major territories were sold at the Hong Kong Filmart, the spokeswoman said. Bleiberg Entertainment has added an additional screening of Eran Kolirin's Un Certain Regard entry "The Band's Visit." About an Egyptian police band stranded in Israel, the film will screen again today at 10 p.m. at the Lerins 1 theater in the Palais du Festival.

Pusan powers Asian film

A new Asian Cinema Fund with nearly $1 million aimed at supporting Asian movie projects was unveiled Monday by organizers of the Pusan International Film Festival. Worth 800 million South Korean won ($890,000), the fund will help bankroll everything from pre- to postproduction projects carried out at least in part in South Korea. Films backed by the fund will have the right to be screened at future editions of the Pusan Festival, which takes place Oct. 4-12 this year. The fund was created by the Pusan city government and a group of five major South Korean postproduction studios.

Latido off and running with 'Arnold'

Spanish sales company Latido Films has sold rights to three territories on Dan Cox's satirical documentary "Running With Arnold," focusing on Arnold Schwarzenegger's political career and narrated by Alec Baldwin, Latido chief Max Saidel announced. The film has been picked up by Australia's Madman, India's UTV and Turkey's Barbar. The film, which weaves together Schwarzenegger's ambitions with sex and Enron scandals, will open the Austin Film Festival. Rights for the U.S., France, Germany, Japan and Korea are in talks.
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