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Epic Pictures is launching sales on animated action-adventure Space Dogs 2, the sequel to 2010’s canine astronaut pic Space Dogs 3D. Vadim Sotskov of Kinoatis and Sergei Sernov are producing alongside exec producers Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson of Epic Pictures Group. The US-Russian project is currently in production in stereoscopic 3D. Epic is also repping global sales on action-thriller The Patrol: Operation Herrick, written and directed by Tom Petch, who is producing with Tom Stuart for AFG Film Ltd. The story of a British Army patrol battling the Taliban in Afghanistan stars Owain Arthur, Nicholas Beveney, Daniel Fraser, Alex Mcnally, Oliver Mott, Ben Righton, and Nav Sidhu.
Spotlight Pictures has come aboard to sell Tar, the biopic of Pulitzer-winner poet CK Williams that stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Zach Braff, Henry Hopper and Bruce Campbell. The pic follows the life of Williams (Franco) as he recalls the experiences that shaped the man he became and the writer he was destined to be. It was directed by 12 NYU film students and premiered last year at the Rome Film Festival. The sales deal was negotiated by Vince Jolivette for Rabbit Bandini Productions with Carlos Rincon at Spotlight.
Content Film, a division of Content Media Corporation, has picked up The Surprise. The company will handle worldwide sales, excluding Holland, Belgium, the former Dutch colonies, Luxembourg and Germany, for the pic. Mike van Diem wrote and will direct the Dutch romantic comedy, which is currently in pre-production. It tells the story of Jacob, who, sick of his bland existence, decides to hire a firm that specializes in assisted, seemingly accidental suicides. After signing up, he meets the incredibly beautiful Anne, and suddenly has something to live for, but the contract is irreversible and he and Anne must now find a way to outsmart the firm. Els Vandevorst is producing with Hans de Weers in co-production with Mike Downey and Sam Taylor, Nino Lombardo, Macdara Kellerher, and Michael Eckert. Van Diem is repped by CAA and Mosaic.
Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut How To Catch A Monster is being handled internationally by Sierra/Affinity which has sealed deals in 20 territories. Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Ronan, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes, Matt Smith and Rob Zabrecky star in the modern fantasy-drama, based on a script by Gosling. Warner Bros. acquired U.S. rights to the project last week. It’s also now gone to Entertainment One in Australia/New Zealand, the UK and Canada as well as selling in France, Latin America, Thailand, Turkey and elsewhere.
France’s Mars Films has picked up all French speaking rights to William H. Macy‘s directorial debut, Rudderless, which Radiant Films is selling internationally. Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne, William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman star. The music drama is currently shooting.
Snowfort Pictures and MPI’s Dark Sky Films have started production on Starry Eyes, the Hollywood-set occult tale from Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch. Snowfort Pictures is producing, while MPI will handle international sales. Newcomer Alex Essoe stars in the horror movie that’s a contemporary take on pics like Rosemary’s Baby. Amanda Fuller, Fabianne Therese, Pat Healy, Shane Coffey, Marc Senter, Nick Simmons and Noah Segan star. Travis Stevens produces. Exec producers are John Jarzemensky, Aaron Koontz, Giles Daoust and Gena Wilbur. The initial round of financing was raised via Kickstarter.
Just launched London-based Wentworth Media & Arts is backed by UK private equity and is looking to produce, develop, exploit and fund projects across the entertainment spectrum. The company was formed by former EMI chairman and CEO Eric Nicoli along with William Lewis, John Stanley and Dean Goldberg. The partners have also taken a stake in new sales company, Filmagine, headed by financier Beau Rogers and formed with Shoreline Entertainment. WMA and Filmagine are jointly developing The Raven Of St. James’s Park written by Ocean Palmer. WMA says it will provide funding, services, expertise, development and commercialization platforms to third parties as well as its own content. Distribution will be handled via traditional routes, but will also take advantage of new media and new technology. The company expects to have three films gearing up by Toronto on budgets of not more than £10M.
Protagonist has boarded international sales on Lilting, the latest feature to go through Film London’s Microwave fund. Curzon Film World’s Artificial Eye will distribute in the UK. Ben Whishaw, Cheng Pei Pei, Peter Bowles, Morven Christie and Andrew Leung star. Hong Khaou is writer-director of the movie about a Chinese woman grieving for her lost son, and the relationship she builds with his lover.
Paul Haggis‘ upcoming ensemble drama Third Person has been selling briskly for Corsan with 23 territories now closed including Canada, China, France, Italy, Spain and Latin America. The film follows three inter-connected love stories of three couples in three cities. Mila Kunis, Olivia Wilde, Kim Basinger, Moran Atias, Maria Bello, Liam Neeson, Adrien Brody and James Franco star. Haggis is in Cannes this weekend to talk up the project.
Doha Film Insitute is launching two new fests which will take the place of the Doha Film Festival. Films from first- and second-time filmmakers will be the focus of the new Qumra Film Festival, Doha which will take place in March, 2014 and include international competition sections for feature and short films. It is also starting the Ajyal Film Festival for the Young, a community-based event that brings cinema and film-related activities to Doha to promote film appreciation among families and educators. Its first edition takes place in November this year. Filmmaker Elia Suleiman was recently appointed artistic advisor for DFI. After a four-year partnership, the Doha Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival dissolved their relationship last month.