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Risky Business blog @ Toronto

Sept. 12

'Dead' sale reanimates Toronto market
After a modest day, the relatively dead Toronto market rose to life late Tuesday as North American rights, including Mexico, for "George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead" went to the Weinstein Co. for $2 million-$2.5 million. MORE

Genre label flowers under Magnolia
Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban's Magnolia Pictures is stepping up its game with a new genre label, Magnet. Magnet's first film out of the gate will be Jeremy Saulnier's comic slasher film "Murder Party," set for a brief theatrical release before an October DVD bow. MORE

Ecology stars in Toronto's Green-Screen
Toronto's film production industry on Tuesday unveiled plans to go green, a move that will include everything from serving food in biodegradable containers to transporting stars in hybrid cars. MORE

Sept. 11

Toronto mart slow but building
There were few frenzied bidding wars, few dark horses and a lot of buyers waiting for lower prices as the week began at the Toronto International Film Festival, with many complaining of a lackluster sales scene. MORE

Sept. 10

Hot buzz, cool sales for Toronto buyers market
TORONTO -- Festivalgoers awoke Sunday to a cold and rainy Toronto, which seemed to mirror the initial mood of buyers looking for available film titles. In a festival typically front-loaded with acquirable goods, there was no buying frenzy on the order of this year's Sundance fest or Festival de Cannes. MORE

Sept. 8

Miramax nabs U.S. rights to Meirelles' 'Blindess'
TORONTO -- Miramax Films on Saturday nabbed U.S. rights to Fernando Meirelles' dramatic thriller "Blindness" for just under $5 million. Meirelles' follow-up to "City of God" and "The Constant Gardener" chronicles a city overtaken by a plague of blindless through the eyes of a small band of quarrantined citizens. The film stars Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Alice Braga, Danny Glover and Gael Garcia Bernal. MORE

ThinkFilm, Equinoxe buy 'Then She Found Me'
TORONTO -- The first big sale of the Toronto fest went to ThinkFilm and Canadian distributor Equinoxe Films Saturday morning. The companies picked up US and Canadian rights, respectively, to Helen Hunt's directorial debut "Then She Found Me" starring Hunt, Colin Firth, Bette Midler, and Matthew Broderick in a $2.5 to $3 million combo deal. MORE

Sept. 7

Weinstein Co. inks rights to 'Boy A'
TORONTO -- The Weinstein Co. on Friday preemptively nabbed worldwide rights (excluding U.K. TV) to the Toronto fest entry "Boy A." John Crowley's drama, originally made for British television, is adapted from the novel of the same name by Jonathan Trigell. It follows a 24-year-old man released from prison years after murdering another child with his young friend. MORE

IFC nabs 'Jar City' at Toronto
TORONTO -- In one of the first sales from the Toronto fest, IFC Entertainment picked up all North American rights to Baltasar Kormakur's cop thriller "Jar City." The Icelandic feature is the highest grossing film in its country's history. It was an official selection at last week's Telluride fest and won the 2007 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival's top award. IFC will release the film via its day-and-date First Take program. MORE

Sept. 6

Toronto fest puts buzz before biz
TORONTO -- The 32nd annual Toronto International Film Festival got under way Thursday with the typical festival excitement ahead of what promises to be 10 days of often serious, political films. MORE

Toronto title 'In Bloom' blossoms overseas

TORONTO -- 2929 International has planted Vadim Perelman's hot Toronto fest acquisition title "In Bloom" in 15 territories worldwide. The director's follow-up to "House of Sand and Fog" follows the survivor of a Columbine High School-style rampage (Uma Thurman) near the 15th anniversary of the shooting. The story jumps between her present day torment and her experiences with a friend during the event. Evan Rachel Wood plays the young Thurman and Eva Amurri plays her high school friend. MORE

Goldwyn picks up Lelouch's 'Roman'
TORONTO -- Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired North American rights to Claude Lelouch's new thriller "Roman de gare." The film premiered at the Festival de Cannes earlier this year and was released last month in France, where it became a box office success. Cesar nominee Dominique Pinon and Cesar winner Fanny Ardant star in the film about a popular novelist who researches unlikely sources to find characters for her next bestseller. MORE

Sept. 5

Tense times as Toronto fest gets under way
Festival is likely to be a highly charged poker game, with plenty of wild cards in play. A possible actors strike next summer could dry up indie slates. Distributors still are absorbing films that they acquired during January's unexpected buyer frenzy at the Sundance Film Festival. New distributors with deep pockets are entering the market. And few, if any, Oscar contenders have emerged so far, adding to the pressure for the fall awards hopefuls to deliver the goods. All these factors could impact the annual north-of-the-border festival. "The mood is panic," TIFF director Noah Cowan said Wednesday on the eve of the festival. "There are a lot of important movies that people are eager to see." MORE

'Penelope' slides to Summit

TORONTO -- In a journey as bizarre as the one taken by its heroine, producer Reese Witherspoon's fable "Penelope" has landed at Summit Entertainment. Summit has picked up North American rights to Mark Palansky's $15 million feature debut. Christina Ricci stars as a pig-snouted girl looking for love, with a cast that includes James McAvoy, Catherine O'Hara, Richard E. Grant, Peter Dinklage and Witherspoon. Summit plans a Feb. 1 release. MORE

New post for Picturehouse's Crain
TORONTO -- Picturehouse has promoted Lindsay Crain from director of acquisitions to vp acquisitions just in time for the Toronto International Film Festival. Crain will continue reporting to senior vp of acquisitions Sara Rose in the company's Los Angeles offices. The pair will work with president Bob Berney to navigate the exciting and treacherous indie film landscape. MORE