Alex Walton and Ken Kao’s new production, finance and sales outfit Bloom got off to a strong start in Cannes this week with one of the more sought after projects in town, Gus Van Sant’s Sea Of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey. The film has now virtually sold out around the world after Van Sant and McConaughey came to the Croisette to share their vision with buyers. Among the territories that closed are the UK, Australia and New Zealand (eOne), Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and pan-Latin America (Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions), France (SND), India and Pakistan (Apsara), Israel (United King), Italy (Lucky Red), Japan (Parco) and CIS and the Baltic States (West). McConaughey stars in the drama about a man who journeys to the Sea Of Trees, a dense forest lapping the foothills of Mount Fuji and described by many as the perfect place to die. There, he encounters a Japanese man who has also lost his way. Ken Watanabe and Naomi Watts are in negotiations. The film will start production in July.
Music Box Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz’s Gett, The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem. FilmsDistribution’s Nicolas Brigaud Robert confirms the deal on the Directors’ Fortnight title that premiered to glowing reviews. The story follows a woman’s five-year fight to obtain her divorce in Israel’s Rabbinical Court. Set entirely inside the courtroom, the film centers on Viviane and her lawyer who must face the uncompromising attitude of Elisha, the husband — he keeps refusing the divorce even though they’ve been separated for years.
Beijing’s Hairun Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures Asia are co-deveoping and producing Mountain Cry from writer/director Yang Zi (aka Larry Yang). Yang’s script won the prize for Best Artistic Potential at last month’s Beijing International Film Festival. It’s based on a Chinese novel of the same name by Ge Shuiping. The story is set in a remote mountain village in the aftermath of the sudden death of a husband and father whose family is new to the tight-knit traditional community. Story Mining & Supply Co., through its strategic development alliance with VRPA, and Ivanhoe Pictures, through its recently launched Asia film production arm, are also boarding the project to contribute resources in development, finance and international marketing strategy. Mountain Cry is expected to start production in early 2015. VRPA recently produced Keanu Reeves’ Man Of Tai Chi and Stephen Chow’s blockbuster Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons.
Cinedigm has acquired North American distribution rights to Double Dutch family film The Stream. A DVD, digital and VOD release in planned for August 26. In separate deals, Double Dutch sold the film to VM in Australia and MediAsia for pan Asian TV. Estlin Feigley directs Rainn Wilson, Christopher Gorham, Kelly Rutherford and Mario Lopez. Story is set in the summer of 1981 when Ernest Terry, like most boys his age, is obsessing over Star Wars. In the woods outside Ernest’s neighborhood, capture-the-flag contests escalate into sprawling Jedi battles, with bright yellow Wiffle ball bats substituting for lightsabers. But when a bully snaps Ernest’s already-damaged “weapon” in half, he and his friends accept a mission: follow a nearby stream to the town mall, buy a new bat and return home before their parents realize they’re missing.
Main Street Films has entered a financing and co-production partnership with Hong Kong based investment fund Crown Brand Corporation Limited. Under the deal, Main Street will acquire feature rights in all media from around the world for distribution in the greater China region. The two companies will also co-produce family oriented and romantic comedy films and television shows for the U.S. and Chinese speaking regions. Main Street has actively been acquiring Chinese speaking rights over the last 12 months and recently picked up four new Taiwanese titles including For Love Is Sin, The Spin Kid, Mayday 3DNA and The Soul Of Bread.
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