Fortissimo flexes muscles at Filmart

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Despite a torrential downpour that disrupted meeting schedules and market traffic Tuesday morning, Fortissimo Films rounded up big sales during the second day of Filmart, inking deals for six titles.

Robert Kenner's documentary "Food, Inc." was gobbled up by Golden Village for Singapore, Cafe Groove for Japan, A-Film for Benelux, United King Films for Israel and Deltamac for Hong Kong and Taiwan.

U.S. helmer Todd Solondz's "Forgiveness," starring Shirley Henderson and Ciaran Hinds, was sold to Israel's Shani Films and Russia's Maywin Media, and Fortissimo also struck deals for Paul Schrader's 1985 cult-favorite fictional biopic "Mishima" with Scandinavia's NonStop Entertainment, France's Wild Side and Spain's Avalon Distribution.

Meanwhile, the company's big Cannes hopeful — Tsai Ming-liang's "Face," starring Laetitia Casta, Fanny Ardant and Jeanne Moreau — was snatched by Maywin Media and Switzerland's Columbus Film.

Rights to Majid Majidi's "The Song of Sparrows," for which Mohammad Amir Naji won a best actor award at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival, were acquired by Taiwan's Cineplex Entertainment and Germany's ARD Degeto, which also closed a deal for Benjamin Gilmour's "Son of a Lion."

"Business is always good for us here," Fortissimo founder and co-chairman Wouter Barendrecht said. "We need Asian buyers for our American films and also European buyers who have a taste for Asian films. But the business this year reflects the economy worldwide." Business "has been down since the American Film Market last year," he added. "But it doesn't make sense for us to drive distributors out of business. We have to help each other at this time." (partialdiff)
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