Agency signings slow in Toronto

'Balibo's' Robert Connolly among standouts

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TORONTO -- Much like the sluggish acquisition activity at the Toronto International Film Festival, agency director signings also were slow.

The biggest involved Robert Connolly, the Australian helmer of "Balibo," who has hung his hat on ICM's rack.

Agencies also were circling Canadian actor-turned-director Jacob Tierney, whose feature debut, "The Trotsky," received favorable notices, and Australian Sean Byrne. Byrne already was being chased, but his stock shot up when his horror film "The Loved Ones" won TIFF's Midnight Madness audience prize.

ICM began courting Connolly after an agency screening of "Balibo," which stars client Anthony LaPaglia and tells the tale of missing journalists in East Timor. ICM motion picture literary agent David Styne came to Toronto before the movie's premiere to meet with Connolly.

ICM has a strong track record with signings at TIFF. Last year, it reeled in French director Pascal Laugier, the man behind the horror movie "Martyrs" and now attached to helm "Hellraiser." Jean-Marc Vallee, whose "Young Victoria" closed this year's festival, also inked a deal at Toronto.