Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Toronto International Film Festival is a big deal

Kristen Wiig in a still from "Imogene."

The Toronto International Film Festival is a dream vacation for movie fans around the world. Many of them make the trek annually because of its reputation for red carpets, celebrity sightings or the post-gala parties and premiere screenings. However, the reason it’s such a big event – and why it draws some of the biggest names in Hollywood – is that it’s a powerhouse market for buyers and sellers.

Among the movies landing deals in the first few days of the festival were “Imogene,” a comedy starring Kristen Wiig about a playwright who stages her own suicide attempt, and Stuart Blumberg’s “Thanks for Sharing,” story about sex-addiction starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark Ruffalo.
The Globe and Mail reported that Lionsgate and its sister company Roadside Attractions acquired the U.S. rights to both films.
Among the first films sold at TIFF was Spike Lee’s “Old Boy,” which is a remake of a South Korean suspense film, starring Josh Brolin, snagged by FilmDistrict for an undisclosed amount.

Ryan Gosling in a still from "The Place Beyond the Pines."
Not surprisingly, Focus Features anted up $3 million to acquire, “The Place Beyond the Pines.” The crime drama was written and directed by Derek Cianfrance and stars Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes and Bradley Cooper.
TIFF is good for the U.S.
But it also caters to foreign filmmakers looking to bring their stories to North American audiences.
Yesterday, XLRator Media announced that it has acquired all U.S. rights to the supernatural thriller, "Thale’ based on the Norwegian myth of the “huldra”: beautiful women with long hair who can be recognized by their thick animal tails. A sort of landlocked cousin of the mermaid, the huldra lures men into the woods, where they are lost forever.
"Thale" is a haunting and atmospheric thriller that grips you from the opening scene to the chilling finale," said Barry Gordon, CEO of XLrator Media. "It once again shows Scandinavia to be a rich wellspring for today's most compelling and stylish thrillers, from “Let the Right One In” to “Troll Hunter” to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and its sequels.

Other deals recently made at TIFF:

  • “Byzantium” Neil Jordan’s vampire film
  • “Aftershock” a horror film about a Chilean earthquake
  • “Breaking the Girl,” director Jamie Babbit’s thriller
  • “Much Ado About Nothing,” Joss Whedon’s modern retelling of the Shakespearean play
  • “The Stories We Tell,” documentary by Sarah Polley
  • “What Maisie Knew” starring Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgard

 Still in negotiations at TIFF:
A still from "The Iceman."

  •  “The Iceman” starring Michael Shannon and James Franco
  • “Kon-Tiki,” another Norwegian film about explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s crossing of the Pacific Ocean in 1947, on a simple wooden raft

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