EXCLUSIVE: Stuart Ford’s sales and finance team IM Global is leaving Berlin with a bucketload of deals across the company’s diverse slate, including a major one with Japanese distributor Kadokawa Pictures for Martin Scorsese’s Silence, starring Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson. That is a particularly significant deal because the film is based on a bestselling Japanese novel by Shusaku Endo and is set in the country.
The company brought an uncommonly big slate to market, ranging from big commercial fare such as Keanu Reeves-starrer Rally Car to more boutique offerings like the foreign language The Black Minutes starring Diego Luna and Damien Bichir.
“We bucked the prevailing trend at EFM by taking a really large slate to Berlin,” Ford told Deadline. “Consequently, we cranked out a really significant volume of business at a time when we’re starting to see some rapid contraction and consolidation in the international sales world.”
Ford and his colleagues closed deals for Rally Car in Latin America (SWEN), France (SND), Eastern Europe (Prorom), Airlines (Cinesky), Middle East (Selim Ramia), Switzerland (Ascot Elite), South Africa (Ster Kinekor), Thailand (Sahamongkol), Turkey (BIR Film), Malaysia (Sahamongkol), Indonesia (Cinema 21), Portugal (Lusomundo), Israel (United King), Baltic States (ACME), Vietnam (Sahamongkol).
The Karate Kid helmer Harald Zwart is directing the Reeves vehicle for leading Chinese production and distribution company Fundamental Films and Company Films. The film centers on a hot shot former champion NASCAR driver (Reeves), who doesn’t want to believe his glory days are behind him. When his professional and personal life begin to spiral out of control, he’s forced to take part in a high stakes international rally race across the face of China, with a young Chinese girl as his co-driver, in order to prove he’s still the badass racer he thinks he is.
Jessica Chastain-starrer Woman Walks Ahead sold to France (UGC), Latin America (SWEN), Benelux (Paradiso), Spain (Dea Planeta), Airlines (Cinesky), Switzerland (Ascot Elite), Middle East (Selim Ramia), Indonesia (Cinema 21) and the Baltic States (ACME). Susanna White (Generation Kill) directs, based on the true story of Catherine Weldon, a widowed Brooklyn artist who, in June 1889, traveled to the Standing Rock Reservation in Dakota Territory to help Sitting Bull hold onto land that the government was trying to wrest from his people.
Another big seller for the company was Bel Powley horror pic Wildling, the promo of which was enthusiastically received by buyers. Deals have closed for the UK (Warner Brothers), Latin America (Gussi), South Africa (Ster Kinekor), Switzerland (Ascot Elite), Portugal (Lusomundo), Middle East (Selim Ramia), Turkey (BIR Film), Thailand (Sahamongkol), Israel (United King), Ex-Yugoslavia (Dexin), Indonesia (Cinema 21), Malaysia (Sahamongkol), Baltic States (ACME), Vietnam (Noori).
Produced by Maven Pictures and Liv Tyler, who also co-stars, Fritz Bohm’s Wildling is an elevated horror tale in the vein of vampire pic Let The Right One In. The story centers on young Anna (Powley, Diary Of A Teenage Girl), who spends her entire childhood in a single room under the care of a mysterious man (Brad Dourif) she only knows as “Daddy.” He makes her fear the “Outside” by telling her of the “Wildling,” a creature with sharp teeth and claws who roams about eating little children.
IM Global came in to the festival with some big early deals, including a UTA-CAA brokered domestic deal for The Circle, which the company sold out international on last Cannes, to EuropaCorp’s RED. Richard Tanne’s Sundance hit Southside With You, about Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date, also closed with Miramax and Roadside Attractions for North America on the first day of the market, as reported exclusively by Deadline. Miramax subsequently picked up up further rights for the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Team Ford’s foreign language division Anthem also held its own, with a number of deals on Stephen Chow’s Chinese box office hit The Mermaid selling to Latin America (SWEN), Middle East (Salim Ramia), Spain (SWEN) and Portugal (SWEN). Sony had already picked up U.S., UK and Australian rights before the market. Zhao Wan’s The Precipice Games sold in Latin America (SWEN), Indonesia (Cinema 21), Malaysia (Sahamongkol), Thailand (Sahamongkol), Eastern Europe (Prorom), Turkey (BIR Film), Airlines (Cinesky), South Africa (Ster Kinekor), Switzerland (Ascot Elite), Middle East (Salim Ramia), Israel (United King) and Vietnam (Sahamongkol).
IM Global’s Latin film division Mundial, a joint venture with Mexican production company Canana, is also nearing worldwide deals on Diego Luna’s Mr Pig starring Danny Glover and Maya Rudolph as well as Mario Munoz’s The Black Minutes, starring Luna and Damien Bichier.