Global Showbiz Briefs Chinese Web Giant Youku Launches Heyi Film; eOne Acquires ‘Seed’ Producer Force Four; More

Joining the growing trend of Chinese companies seeking out a role in the movie business, Internet giant Youku is launching Heyi Film. A wholly owned film production subsidiary, it will make films “to the tastes of the Chinese audience” and “improve film youku-app-175x175-75marketing and distribution,” Tech in Asia reported. Heyi is eyeing major theatrical releases and helping online talent branch out. Among the first projects are Bad Sister, starring Ivy Chen; Vacation In Paris, starring Amber Kuo and Louis Koo; and The Master, a co-production with Beijing Century Partner Culture and Media. There’s also a plan to transfer popular web series Yes Boss! and Miss Puff, TIA says. Alibaba is the most recent Chinese company to add film production to its portfolio. However, a red flag was raised over its $804M acquisition of ChinaVision Media Group when the company said it had discovered suspicious accounting and suspended its shares from trading until an audit committee completes an investigation.

Entertainment One has acquired Canadian producer Force Four Entertainment eonefrom partners Rob Bromley, John Ritchie, and Gillian Lowrey. Launched in 1983, Vancouver-based Force Four has produced more than 500 hours of lifestyle, reality and scripted television, including such series as the scripted sitcom Seed, Border Security: Canada’s Front Line, The Cupcake Girls, Shannon And Sophie, Village On A Diet and Murder She Solved.

Content Film said today it has picked up international sales rights to the psychological sci-fi pic 400 Days and will sell it at the Toronto International Film Festival. Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Dane Cook, Ben Feldman, Tom Cavanagh, and Grant Bowler star in writer-director Matt Osterman’s film about a space crew sent on an extended simulated mission to a distant planet only to discover the simulation is all too real. The pic from producers produced by Gabriel Cowan and John Suits is in postproduction and set for a summer 2015 release. Exclusive footage of 400 Days will be shown to buyers in Toronto next month.

Related: XLrator Media, New Artists Alliance Ink 3-Picture Sci-Fi Pact

MIPTV/MIPCOM organizer Reed MIDEM said Thursday that it is launching MIP Cancun, the first regional Latam TV Buyers Summit. The event is set for November 19-21 at the JW Marriott Cancun Hotel in Mexico. MIP Cancun will welcome acquisition executives representing up to 40 channels from 15 different MIPCancuncountries in Latin America, as well as up to 40 distributors of international programming. “There is increasing interest in the Latin American television market and Reed MIDEM is committed to servicing the needs of international companies looking to do business with their Latin American counterparts,” notes Laurine Garaude, Director of Reed MIDEM’s Television Division. “MIP Cancun underlines that commitment to Latin America, in a year when we, in partnership with ProMéxico, are also putting Mexico in the spotlight as MIPCOM’s Country of Honour.”

Fantastic Fest on Thursday unveiled the work-in-progress selections and film previews for the second edition of its international genre co-production market, Fantastic Market | Mercado Fantastico.The works-in-progress are director Mercado FantasticoAdrian Garcia Bogliano’s Scherzo Diabolico, Felipe Aljure’s Three Scapulars and Juan Manuel “Juma” Fodde’s Splendorous Garden of the Heart. The film teasers and previews are Nayra Ilic and Gabriel Caceres’ Game Bird, Isaac Ezban’s The Similars, Jose Manuel Cravioto’s Reversal, Tamae Garateguy’s El Plata,  David Muñoz and Adrián Cardona’s Fist of Jesus (special presentation) and Daniel de la Vega’s Necrofobia 3D. Remora, with a director to be determined, is a newly added pitch project. The market runs from September 18-20 in Austin; Fantastic Fest runs September 18-25.



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