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Spier unveils first slate

Making its market debut at Cannes this year is new South African/Anglo sales outfit Spier Films. Intending to work closely with first- and second-time directors, the mandate of the company is to sell, produce and finance high-quality art house films with a view to co-producing some bigger-budget productions. "We basically have a slate of Un Certain Regard films," Spier Films director Michael Auret said of a slate that includes the Un Certain Regard film "The Dead Girl's Feast," Berlinale title "Ciao Bella" and Sundance film "Son of Man."

'Holly,' 'Man' to Visit N.A.

Visit Films has secured two North American distribution deals for its Cannes slate, selling Guy Moshe's child prostitution drama "Holly" to City Lights Pictures and Steve Barron's immigrant tale "Choking Man" to Film Movement. "Holly," the story of an American gambler in Cambodia who tried to save a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl, stars Ron Livingston and Virgine Ledoyen. "Man," a 2007 Tribeca Film Festival premiere from music video director Barron, follows a painfully shy immigrant working in Queens.

Weinstein at 'Eden Lake'

The Weinstein Co. has acquired all North American distribution rights to writer-director James Watkins' thriller "Eden Lake." Watkins makes his directorial debut with the project. "Eden" stars Kelly Reilly in a horror tale about a couple at a lakeside spot where they are terrorized by a gang of feral kids. The Weinstein Co. acquired the rights from Pathe.

Jones' 'Islands' on Mars

Tommy Lee Jones' "Islands In the Stream" will flow to French audiences via Mars Films, which has boarded for distribution here. The deal with Mars was sealed by London-based international sales and finance house Intandem Films, the $30 million-budgeted title's exec producers. The negotiations with Intandem were led by Valerie Garcia and Veronique Cuilhe for Mars. William Morris Independent is handling domestic and working closely on the financing also.

Tokyo fest goes green

The Tokyo International Film Festival is trading its traditional red carpet for a green one. At its annual Cannes party Saturday, organizers tabbed ecology as the theme for this year's event, which will introduce programming spotlights that will examine the co-existence of "man and nature." The festival also has introduced a new award to honor the film that best addresses ecological and environmental issues. TIFF, which runs Oct. 18-26, also will host various conferences and events exploring green issues.

Beresford goes for Gold

Australian director Bruce Beresford has been appointed president of the International Jury for the second annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards, to be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, on Nov. 11. The ASPAs honor the work of filmmakers across more than 70 countries, reflecting a third of the Earth and half of the world's film output. The awards are a collaboration between CNN International, UNESCO and the International Federation of Film Producers Assn.
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