Cannes market action picking up


CANNES -- Distant Horizon has picked up North American rights to the Donnie Yen action picture "Flash Point" from Hong Kong-based Mandarin Films in one the many reported deals as business at the Marche du Film heats up.

The Distant Horizon buy comes after the company's success with Yip Wai-shun's "SPL" (released as "Kill Zone" in the U.S.), which also starred Yen. The London- and Los Angeles-based company has a tradition of introducing Asian action cinema to North American audiences, Distant Horizon president Anant Singh said.

Produced by Nansun Shi, "Flash Point" is set in Hong Kong in 1997, the year the territory returned to China from Britain. In it, Yen plays a tough cop working undercover with Louis Koo ("Election") to take down a gang of brothers played by Collin Chou ("Matrix Reloaded") and Xing Yu ("Dragon Tiger Gate").

Meanwhile, Germany's Universum Film has picked up three titles at Cannes, grabbing Mandate Pictures' thriller "Passengers" starring Anne Hathaway; Summit Entertainment's science fiction thriller "Push"; and, in a straight-to-DVD deal, the French science fiction horror pic "Chrysalis" from Gaumount.

Paul McGuigan ("Lucky Number Slevin") will direct "Push," which is from David Bourla's script about a rogue psychic who teams up with a 13-year-old clairvoyant to take on a secret government agency.

In-demand young actor Channing Tatum will star in the film, which is set to begin shooting in August in Hong Kong.

Two other North American pickups signed in Cannes are the boxing drama "Poor Boy's Game," starring Rossif Sutherland and Danny Glover, which Seville Pictures sold to ThinkFilm, and Funny Boy Films' "Naked Boys Singing, the Movie," which TLA Releasing picked up in a theatrical/DVD deal that also included all U.K. rights. TLA also grabbed U.K. rights to "Poor Boy's Game" from Seville Pictures.

Other deals signed at the Marche du Film include:

-- 2929 International sold Barry Levinson's "What Just Happened" to Pathe in the U.K., Concorde in Germany, Medusa for Italy, TF1 for France and Manga for Spain. 2929's "Hopscotch" also sold to Concorde, Medusa, TF1 and Manga.

-- Buoyed by a 15-minute standing ovation following Saturday's official screening, "The Band's Visit" has been snapped up by Mikado for Italy, Manga for Spain, Madman for Australian/New Zealand rights and Swen-Brazil for all of Latin America. The film's co-producer Sophie Dulac, took French rights.

-- Madrid-based S2 International has taken all rights for Spain and Portugal on Sola Media's animal documentary "The Turtle Song." Earlier in the market, "Turtle" sold to Polyband for Germany.

-- Arthouse Films has announced that it has acquired North American DVD rights to the Henri Cartier-Bresson double DVD box set from French outfit MK2.

-- House of Knowledge world sales sold Kim Cattrall's HBO documentary "Sexual Intelligence" to Constantin Film in Germany, Dutch Film Works for Benelux, Noble Entertainment for Scandinavia and All Media Rights in Belgium.

-- Hollywood House of Horrors inked all rights deals for "Curse of the Zodiac" with Lionsgate for the U.S., Manga in Spain, Dutch Film works in Benelux, Noble in Scandinavia, Private Cinema in Greece and Fortress Digital Technology for Taiwan. The group's "HP Lovecraft's the Tomb" signed all deals with Lionsgate (U.S.), Peacock (Australia), Cineworld (Germany), Private Cinema (Greece) and Zazie (Japan).