Seville sales warm up team Canada


TORONTO -The Canadian phalanx at the American Film Market was toasting a bevy of business deals Saturday after wall-to-wall meetings since the market opened began paying dividends.

Montreal-based distributor Seville International pre-sold "Global Metal," the follow-up documentary to Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen's 2005 hit film "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey," to Amuse Soft in Japan and D Prods. of Turkey. The Canadian film also was picked by Pretty Pictures of France, and Europa Films of Brazil.

Seville also said it has sold the rights to bilingual Quebec comedy hit "Bon Cop, Bad Cop" to Alphaville Filmes for Brazil, J-Bics in Thailand and Turkey's D Prods.

In addition, the distributor sold the Erik Canuel-directed comedy, which recently became Canada's biggest-ever domestic boxoffice hit, to Tandem Film for Bulgaria and MG Film Distribution for the former Yugoslavia, while Lizard Trade bought the Quebec movie for the Russian market.

Seville vp international sales Anick Poirier said she expects "Bon Cop, Bad Cop" to sell into additional foreign territories before the market wraps.

Looking for a range of film product, from art-house movies to low-budget horror and other genre fare, the Canadians also are grooming existing suppliers by screening and coordinating their upcoming releases while possibly generating new output deals.

"We're spending a lot of time with the Lionsgate team, making sure we aren't working at cross-purposes. And we have meetings with suppliers, networks and dinners. It's a pretty demanding schedule," Brad Pelman, co-president of Toronto-based indie distributor Maple Pictures, said.

Montreal-based Equinoxe Films has divided duties between vp of distribution Marie-Claude Poulin, who is screening films for possible acquisition, and senior vp and chief operating officer Michael Mosca, who is meeting with international filmmakers looking to co-produce with Canada. Mosca also is meeting with studioslooking for someone to oversee production of their projects in Canada, paying a fee for services and keeping all rights.

Mosca and Poulin are lobbying producers to offer the Canadian rights to a movie for sale, distinct from the U.S. rights, rather than package the North American rights as part of a "domestic deal."

"Last time I checked, Canada is its own country. But they still put Canada into a 'domestic' deal," Mosca argued.

There also are Canadian players looking to project a business-as-usual posture after either recently being sold or put on the auction block.

Toronto-based film producer and distributor ThinkFilm is at the market just weeks after being bought by David Bergstein and Ron Tutor's Capco Group. And Canadian indie distribution giant Motion Picture Distribution LP has just put itself on the auction block.

MPD consultant Victor Loewy said he's in Santa Monica to tend his company's output deal with New Line Cinema, while fellow executives are meeting with other suppliers including Focus Features, the Weinstein Co., Dimension Films and Miramax.

The relative small size of the Canadian market combined with industry consolidation has left only a few big players buying up suppliers domestically and abroad, including Motion Picture Distribution and Vancouver-based Lionsgate and a host of smaller fish fighting over what's left on the table.

Montreal-based M8 Entertainment is at AFM to introduce for international sale, among other new titles, the SXSW audience award winner "Air Guitar Nation," from American director Alexandra Lipsitz ("Last Comic Standing").

And Montreal-based producer Image in Media Inc. also is in town to secure distribution partners for a family movie based on the classic retro Slinky Toy now in development.

Marie-Christine Dufour, the newly installed executive vp distribution and communications at Section Rouge, said the Canadian producer is looking to develop the Slinky project with distribution partners on board rather than bringing a finished movie to the market further down the road.