Transmedia taking step into 'Unknown'

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LONDON -- U.K. independent distributor Transmedia International Releasing has said buon giorno to U.K. and Irish rights for Giuseppe Tornatore's "La Sconosciuta" (The Unknown Woman), the company said Thursday.

The acquisition, struck in a deal with established Italian seller Adriana Chiesa, gives Transmedia one of its first high-profile foreign-language buys since its birth in 2006.

The movie has won rave reviews in Italy and swept the main awards categories at this year's David di Donatello Awards in Italy including best picture, director and music -- for composer Ennio Morricone.

It centers on a young Ukrainian woman with a dark and violent past who manages to secure a servant job for a wealthy couple in the Italian city of Velarchi.

The movie's star, Kseniya Rappoport, scooped a best actress David for her turn in the picture, which is Italy's entry in the foreign-language nominations race for next year's Oscars.

Tornatore's "Cinema Paradiso" won the foreign-language Academy Award in 1990.

Transmedia founder and CEO Simon Caplan said in an interview that Tornatore's latest is "a beautiful film" but warns that it is a "dark story and quite disturbing."

Caplan said that buying a foreign-language film marked a fresh avenue for Transmedia, away from its normal English-language releases. But he said the film's quality was too enticing to ignore.

Transmedia is on a roll at the moment, with Michael Schroeder's "Man in the Chair" generating buzz among BAFTA and Academy voters for Christopher Plummer's turn as an aging alcoholic movie electrician who ends up helping a high school kid make a movie.
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