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The Hollywood Reporter has released its fifth and final Berlin International Film Festival daily issue, which features a look at the lackluster fest market, China’s Road Pictures’ nabbing of Chinese rights to Cold War and a chat with Wang Quan’an about his latest film Ondog and his plans for a movie about President Donald Trump’s border wall.
Sundance’s Hot Streak Cools Off
After a hot spate of deals at Sundance — including a record $47 million buying spree from Amazon for five films — many were coming into the European Film Market with a sense of anticipation and hope that the Park City hot streak would continue. But as EFM winds down for another year — moving from a focus on big new films in its first weekend to its second week, where the TV series business comes to the fore — there were few big deals to brag about. THR takes a look at why that is.
Cold War Finds a Home in China
Beijing-based distributor Road Pictures has picked up Chinese rights to Cold War, Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski’s critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated period drama. Road Pictures previously acquired two of this year’s other foreign-language film Oscar nominees: Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters and Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes. Road Pictures CEO Can Gongming says the company is planning nationwide Chinese theatrical releases for both Cold War and Capernaum in the first half of the year. More on that deal here.
“New Walls Are About to Be Built”
The Berlin International Film Festival has played an impressively pivotal role in the career of Chinese filmmaker Wang Quan’an. The 54-year-old auteur made his feature debut in the festival’s Forum section in 2002 — with the edgy romance Lunar Eclipse — and just four years later returned to Berlin to win the Golden Bear with Tuya’s Marriage, a tragicomic tale of survival on the Mongolian plains. In the years since, his work has won the festival’s best screenplay prize and generated a Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution — period drama Apart Together (2010) and the sweeping historical epic White Dear Plane (2012), respectively. Wang is back in Berlin this year with O?ndo?g, his seventh feature, about an 18-year-old Mongolian policeman who is tasked with guarding the naked corpse of a young woman found murdered beside the road. Wang served on Berlin’s main competition jury in February 2017, when U.S. President Donald Trump was new to office and the whole world was buzzing about his radical early actions. Wang says the conversations he had during that trip inspired his eighth feature, which is now in preproduction. By all appearances his most audacious film to date, American Wall will be Wang’s first pic shot in the U.S. and told in English. The film follows an Iraq veteran turned truck driver as he drives across the Southwest to deliver a chunk of Trump’s wall to the U.S.-Mexico border. Just prior to Berlin, THR connected with Wang to discuss his recent filmmaking preoccupations, the challenges of shooting in Mongolia and the current quicksilver moment in American politics.
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