IFC mobs up with 'Gomorra'

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IFC Entertainment, one of the more active film buyers at the recently concluded Festival de Cannes, has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the Grand Prix winner "Gomorra" for less than $1 million.

Directed by Italian Matteo Garrone, the film is based on the best-selling Italian novel.

"Just when we thought we had seen it all, Matteo Garrone has reinvented the Italian Mafia picture with such originality and invention that it seems entirely new," IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring said. "We think that this completely fresh take on a well-known genre … will take American audiences by storm as it did in Cannes."

"Gomorra" interweaves five stories rooted in the reality of mob-ruled society around modern-day Naples. Fandango Portobello Sales handled the transaction for "Gomorra" producers Domenico Procacci and RAI Cinema.

IFC, which obtained all U.S. rights, plans a multiplatform release day-and-date with its as-yet-unslotted theatrical limited release by IFC Films. The company intends to release the film on its proprietary VOD service simultaneously with the theatrical bow and strike a cable TV deal, but a spokeswoman said that wouldn't necessarily result in the film's debuting on the IFC cable network.

IFC also announced at Cannes its acquisition of films including Arnaud Desplechin's "A Christmas Tale," starring Catherine Deneuve, and "Hunger," whose director Steve McQueen won the Camera d'Or for best first film. The fest was marked by modest film bidding this year, with U.S. rights to high-profile films including Steven Soderbergh's "Che" going unsold.

The Grand Prix is considered something of a runner-up prize to the Palme d'Or, which went to the Parisian high school drama "The Class." U.S. rights to "Class" remain up for grabs.

By contrast to this year's quiet fest market, Sony paid $11.5 million for the Joaquin Phoenix-Mark Wahlberg starrer "We Own the Night" at last year's Cannes. (partialdiff)
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