U.K. to help RAI open borders


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BERLIN -- The Italians are turning to a specialist British-based sales and co-production house in an attempt to translate Italian success stories into international ones.

U.K. based sales and co-production house Visual Factory has sealed a first-look deal with state-backed Italian movie production house RAI Cinema to help get Italian films across borders.

Visual Factory chief Igor Sekulic said in exchange RAI Cinema will have a first look deal with his company on any co-production projects it is putting together. Titles Sekulic doesn't select for sales duties will continue to be sold by RAI Cinema's own in house sales team. He struck the pact with RAI Cinema's Giovanni Scatassa.

Sekulic has cemented the deal with RAI Cinema after brokering a deal between RAI and Canal Plus Cine Cinemas in France to distribute "Cemento Armato" (Concrete Romance), directed by Marco Martani.

Said Sekulic: "We're looking for any film with an international angle and will market it that way. It's to try and avoid people missing out on some quality successes."

Sekulic cites the 20 million euro-plus boxoffice success of Fausto Brizzi's "Notte prima degli esami" (Night Before the Exams), which remained unsold for months on RAI Cinema's shelves. Sekulic brokered a deal with Canal Plus on that, too.

Elsewhere, it was boxes and packaging rather than deal memos and delight as the European Film Market entered the final days with sellers packing up and shipping out.

By the end of Wednesday, activity was at best sedentary, and those remaining sellers were lamenting the quick exit of buyers with some going as early as Monday.