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Edinburgh fest to showcase new talent

CANNES — The organizers of this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival have added a U.K. talent showcase called Trailblazers and a performance award in a British film to the lineup. EIFF artistic director Hannah McGill and EIFF managing director Ginnie Atkinson said Thursday that about 20 people will be selected for inclusion in the showcase, which is supported by U.K. government-backed training organization Skillset. Trailblazers will be drawn from all areas of filmmaking, they said, but will not be affected by age or previous exposure. The new performance nod will be picked by the same jury that presides over the EIFF's Michael Powell Award. The winner does not have to be British, but the role must be in a British feature film.



Strand's hands on 'Palm'

CANNES — Strand Releasing has acquired all U.S. rights to Sam Garbarski's comedy drama "Irina Palm." The feature follows a widow (Marianne Faithfull) who, desperate to earn money to pay for her grandson's medication, takes a job at a sex club and discovers both empowerment and danger. "Palm" won the Berliner Morgenpost Readers' Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. The deal was negotiated on the first day of the Festival de Cannes by Strand Releasing's Jon Gerrans, Eric Lagesse and Pyramide International's Valentina Merlin.



New Line in 'Sick House'

CANNES — New Line Cinema on Thursday acquired North American rights from Darclight Films to the British horror film "The Sick House." Directed and co-written by Curtis Radclyffe, "Sick House" chronicles the story of an archaeologist (Gina Phillips) who becomes trapped in an abandoned hospital and is preyed upon by an incarnation of a plague. Founded in 2004, Darclight Films is Arclight Films' genre division. Films under the Darclight banner include "Wolf Creek," distributed worldwide by the Weinstein Co.; the vampire pic "Perfect Creature," which was released in the U.S. by 20th Century Fox; and the horror comedy "Hood of Horror," starring Snoop Dogg. "Sick House" will screen Tuesday at the Festival de Cannes.



Filmax sprouts more 'Hairy Tooth'

CANNES — Spanish ministudio Filmax is piecing together a sequel to its hit animated feature "The Hairy Tooth Fairy," Filmax chief Julio Fernandez said Thursday. Like the first, "The Hairy Tooth Fairy 2" will be a co-production with Argentina's Patagonik Film Group and Pampa Films and has a budget of about €5 million. No further details were available. The original earned more than €1 million at the local boxoffice and took Spain's Goya Award for best animated feature. Filmax also is selling its animated films "Nocturno" and "Donkey Xote" in Cannes. The Barcelona-based company is in preproduction on Jaume Balaguero's English-language follow-up to "Darkness" and "Fragile," called "Lady Number Thirteen," a horror film centering on a literature professor haunted by his dreams, a myth and the reality surrounding him. Also in the works is a bigger-budget English-language thriller "The Blindman of Seville," based on a novel by Robert Wilson and adapted to script by Will Conroy.



DVD trade body rebrands

CANNES — Prompted by the launch of high-definition DVD formats and the spread of digital downloads in Europe, the Digital Entertainment Group Europe — formerly DVD Group Europe — said Thursday that it has appointed a new board to reactivate its efforts to promote home entertainment platforms in the region. New members are Yves Caillaud, senior vp at Warner Home Video; Julie Sneddon, senior vp and GM at Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment; and Jonathan Beddows, vp Europe at replicator Cinram Operations UK. Caillaud said the group's name change reflected the fact that the sector is no longer "solely about DVD but rather about a connected living room with the HD media player at the center of it."
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