Fortissimo grooves with rock, reggae


Dutch-Asian sales giant Fortissimo Films is on track to have its best Berlin as buyers snatch up its slate, in particular the hot music documentaries "CSNY: Deja Vu" by rocker Neil Young and Martin Scorsese's upcoming "Marley," about legendary reggae star Bob Marley.

U.K. distributor Contender picked up "Marley," which is scheduled to deliver in 2010. Fortissimo also closed for South Africa (Numetro), Portugal (Lusomundo), Benelux (RCB Distribution) and Iceland (Sam Film).

Fortissimo co-chairman Michael Werner said the company has prebuy offers for all major territories, with multiple bidders in many markets.

"CSNY" was picked up by Metrodome for the U.K., Madman Entertainment for Australia/New Zealand and Metacinema for Italy, with further deals for Portugal (Lusomundo), South Africa (Numetro) and Benelux (RCB). Fortissimo also is in discussions with distributors in Japan, Germany, Spain, Scandinavia and the ex-Yugoslavia.

Fortissimo also has done a slew of cleanup deals, including ones for Julian Schnabel's "Lou Reed's Berlin," which looks at the rocker's 2006 live concert performance of his seminal 1973 concept album. After selling multiple territories at Toronto and the American Film Market, Fortissimo closed "Berlin" at the European Film Market for Italy (Metacinema), India (Palador) and several smaller territories.

On the feature film side, Fortissimo closed several deals on Steve Jacobs' "Disgrace." The John Malkovich starrer, based on the Booker Prize-winning novel by South Africa's J.M. Coetzee, has sold for India, Iceland, the ex-Yugoslavia and the Middle East.

"Berlin started in a brilliant, tumultuous way for us with (opening-night film) 'Shine a Light' and has been just crazy," Werner said. "And it's only Tuesday. If we get the right numbers on some of the offers we have on the table, this will have been our most successful Berlin ever."

Fortissimo's slate also has been among the best reviewed at this year's festival. In addition to "Shine a Light," Fortissimo has two festival titles generating major buzz: Benjamin Gilmour's Forum title "Son of a Lion" and Alex Rivera's science fiction film "Sleep Dealer," which is screening in the Panorama sidebar.