Euros in buy mode

'Fame' among hot titles so far on Croisette

All the Cannes buyers want "Fame," but "Fame" costs, and this is where they start paying.

Lakeshore's musical adaptation of the 1980s TV series about students at New York's Academy of Performing Arts has sparked bidding wars across several territories.

Deals were close throughout Europe, with Metropolitan in France and Universum in Germany among local buyers tipped to grab the title.

Buoyed by a strong euro, continental distributors have been the most aggressive so far for U.S. indie titles here, with Lakeshore, Mandate and Summit fielding a number of apparently tasty projects.

Summit's "Tree of Life," from director Terrence Malick, already might have closed for France, with EuropaCorp the likely buyer.

Mandate apparently has several offers on the table for Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, "Whip It," which has Ellen Page attached to star.

"It's pretty early days, but we are going to sit down and start strategizing on the offers we have," Mandate International president Helen Lee-Kim said.

As for other English-language titles not necessarily American-produced, StudioCanal's sci-fi thriller "Babylon A.D." has sold to Moviemax in Italy and Concorde in Germany. Mars Distribution secured French rights to Tommy Lee Jones' Ernest Hemingway adaptation "Islands in the Stream," which Intandem is selling.

Berlin-based A Company picked up several titles for Russia and Eastern Europe, including Lionsgate's "Saw V," Emir Kusturica's "Maradona" documentary and Omega's Betty Anne Waters biopic starring Hilary Swank. Halcyon Pictures has U.K. rights to Julie Delpy's "The Countess," sold by Celluloid Dream.

U.S. buyers might not be opening their wallets as readily as the Europeans, but titles attracting interest for deals stateside include James Toback's boxer docu "Tyson" and Charlie Kaufman's surreal "Synecdoche, New York."

The animated war drama "Waltz With Bashir" and the triptych "Tokyo!" are generating slow-burn talks among smaller indie buyers.

"There are some international films worth distribution, but given the uncertainty in the U.S. marketplace, the deals will take awhile to happen," Roadside Attractions co-president Howard Cohen said.

But IFC Films snapped up Olivier Assayas' Juliette Binoche starrer "Summer Hours" from MK2 and the Russian coming-of-age drama "Mermaid" from Central Partnership.

Hot Asian titles at Cannes include "The Chaser," which is being sold by Korea's Finecut, CJ Entertainment's "The Good, the Bad, and the Weird" and John Woo's "Red Cliff," repped by Summit.

Gregg Goldstein, Pamela Rolfe, Rebecca Leffler, Charles Masters and Liza Foreman contributed to this report.
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