Locarno deals begin rolling in

Germany's m-appeal picks up 'Yuri's Day'

LOCARNO, Switzerland -- The first distribution deals from this year's Locarno Film Festival have begun trickling in, with Kirill Srerbrennikov's competition title "Yuryev den" (Yuri's Day) inking a distribution deal with Germany's m-appeal.

The deal comes on the heels of a handful of other agreements, including the sale of Federico Bondi's "Mar Nero" to Intramovies and Medialuna's pickup of world distribution rights to Ozcan Alper's "Autumn."

Other films -- including Marcos Siega's comedy "Chaos Theory," Hannes Stohr's "Berlin Calling" and Anne Fontaine's "La Fille De Monaco," all of which screened in the Piazza Grande over the weekend -- are thought to be close to securing distribution deals.

Several distributors commented that the program this year represented a step up from '07, with more possibilities for distribution deals.

"There are a lot of films worth talking to people about," one distributor said. "That doesn't mean deals will be made, but there are some films that are attracting interest."

The festival itself, meanwhile, continued Tuesday under cloudy skies and drizzling rain. So far, this year's event has been the wettest Locarno festival in several years -- a blow for a festival whose most important venue, the Piazza Grande, is outdoors.

Although the weather was clear over the weekend, all the other Piazza Grande screenings took place under threatening skies or a light rain, including Tuesday's, which saw Denis Rabaglia's coming-of-age story "Marcello Marcello" screen to a mostly full and thoroughly wet crowd.

Forecasts predict the weather to finally improve for Wednesday night's Piazza Grande screening of Garth Jennings' "Son of Rambow." "Rambow" was originally scheduled to screen in Locarno last year, but was pulled at the 11th hour because of legal problems that have since been resolved.

The festival concludes Saturday.