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Berlin 2020: rounding up the key deals
03/09/2020
Author: JEREMY KAY, MICHAEL ROSSER, MELANIE GOODFELLOW

This year’s European Film Market (EFM) which concluded at the end of February in Berlin saw a steady flow of deals for festival and market titles, despite a lack of Asian buyers due to coronavirus fears and a mixed response to the inaugural selection of artistic director Carlo Chatrian. 

Sales were secured on Competition titles both before and after the Golden and Silver Bears were awarded while deals were struck throughout EFM.

Here is an overview of this year’s key deals.

 

COMPETITION

Wild Bunch secured a slew of deals on Benoit Delépine and Gustave Kervern’s special Silver Bear winner Delete History.

IFC acquired US rights to Christian Petzold’s Undine from The Match Factory.

Cinema Guild acquired US rights to Hong Sangsoo’s Silver Bear best director winner The Woman Who Ran from Finecut; the Korean sales company also sealed a slew of further deals.

SPECIAL GALA

UK sales outfit Dogwoof and US company Propagate secured deals on Nanette Burstein’s four-part series, Hillary. 

Studiocanal announced pre-sales on Anne Fontaine’s Night Shift to key territories including to Benelux (Athena), Switzerland (Frenetic), Spain (Dea Planeta), Italy (Leone) and Portugal (Lusomundo).

Cohen Media Group acquired North American rights to Vadim Perelman’s Persian Lessons from Memento Film International.

ENCOUNTERS

Neon acquired North American rights to Victor Kossakovsky’s Gunda from UTA Independent Film Group.

French distributor ARP acquired Slovakian filmmaker Ivan Ostrochovsky’s drama Servants from Paris-based sales company Loco Films – one of the first major deals for a title world premiering in the Berlinale’s new Encounters competition.

PANORAMA

Cinephil took world sales (excluding North America) on hit Sundance film Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, which screened in Panorama.

Picturehouse Entertainment picks up Berlin Panorama thriller Wildland for UK.

PANORAMA DOCUMENTARY

National Geographic Documentary Films acquired worldwide rights to Saudi Runaway from Cinetic.

GENERATION 14PLUS

Pyramide International unveiled early sales on Iranian director Massoud Bakhshi’s Sundance grand jury prize winner Yalda, A Night For Forgiveness.

MARKET (US)

Voltage announced pre-sales by the producers on Sam Worthington shark-versus-killer whale thriller Alphas.

Magnolia International licensed multiple territories on four documentaries: Assassins; The Fight; The Booksellers; Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson And The Band.

International Film Trust licenses The Bay Of Silence to US, international territories: North America (Vertical Entertainment), UK, Australia/New Zealand (Signature Entertainment), CIS (Paradise), Spain (Corbi), China (Time-In-Portrait), Greece (Spentzos), Israel (Five Stars), Turkey (Filmdom), Poland (Monolith), Hungary (Cinetel), Ex-Yugo (Blitz), India (Pictureworks), Middle East (Shooting Stars), Philippines (Viva), South Korea (Korea Screen), and airlines (Cinesky). 

XYZ Films licensed upcoming boxing drama Cus And Mike starring Anthony Hopkins as Mike Tyson’s legendary trainer Cus D’Amato to: Italy (Eagle Pictures), Spain (A Contracorriente), Middle East (Falcon), Poland (Kino Swiat), Eastern Europe (Prorom), Portugal (NOS Lusomundo), Indonesia (Pt Falcon), Taiwan (MovieCloud), Singapore (Shaw), South Africa (Empire), Israel (Red Cape), Turkey (Fabula), and Cinesky for airlines.

Film Mode licensed multiple territories on Radha Mitchell horror Dreamkatcher.

Kino Lorber announced US rights deal with Wild Bunch, CAA on Sundance winner Epicentro.

Sony Pictures Classics acquires multiple territories from HanWay Films on Farnsworth House starring Ralph Fiennes, Elizabeth Debicki: US, Latin America, UK, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Australia/New Zealand, Asia (excluding Singapore, Brunei, South Korea), China, South Africa.

Netflix is understood to be buying worldwide rights from CAA and FilmNation to upcoming Jessica Chastain crime drama The Good Nurse.

AGC International closed multiple pre-sales on upcoming Sylvester Stallone action thriller Little America to be directed by Screen International Star of Tomorrow 2011 Rowan Athale.

Charades has sold North American rights to Argentinian filmmaker Maura Delpero’s drama Maternal to 1844 Entertainment. 

STX Entertainment licensed German rights on upcoming Liam Neeson action thriller Memory to Telepool.

STXfilms acquired North American, Latin American and Chinese rights from Studiocanal, UTA Independent Film Group to upcoming action thriller Gunpowder Milkshake.

Neon acquired worldwide rights from Autlook to Benjamin Ree’s recent Sundance premiere The Painter And The Thief.

Octane licensed North America, international territories on Paydirt.

STX Entertainment licensed German rights on upcoming Gerard Butler action thriller Remote Control to Leonine.

IFC acquired US rights from CAA to upcoming thriller Six Minutes To Midnight. 

A24 acquired North American rights from CAA in the run-up to EFM on Claire Denis’ upcoming The Stars At Noon starring Robert Pattinson. 

Foresight Unlimited announces territory sales on Nicolas Cage horror Wally’s Wonderland. 

MARKET (EUROPE)

Elle Driver closed sales on Gabriele Muccino’s hit drama The Best Years, which received its market premiere at Berlin’s EFM.

The Open Reel secured the first sales at the EFM for Andrea Adriatico’s Bitter Years.

True Colours secured deals on a raft of titles out of the EFM, led by Sergio Castellitto’s romantic drama A Bookshop In Paris and Paolo Genovese’s Superheroes.

TrustNordisk closed a slew of sales on its diving survival drama Breaking Surface.

Global Screen has added France and Japan to the line-up of territories which have now picked up Dror Zahavi’s drama Crescendo #makemusicnotwar.

Filmax closed several sales on the thriller Cross The Line, including France (Wild Bunch), CIS (Russian Report), Taiwan (Cai Chang) and Former Yugoslavia (Dexin).

UK outfit Arrow Films has sold two of its genre titles – The Dead Center, directed by Billy Senese, and UK genre comedy A Serial Killer’s Guide To Life – to Swedish distributor Njutafilms.

Paramount picked up German theatrical rights to Merkel, setting a March 28 release date for the political thriller.

Pulsar Content has unveiled early deals on Spanish director Kike Maíllo’s English-language psychological thriller A Perfect Enemy, co-starring Tomasz Kot and Athena Strates.

Picturehouse Entertainment took UK rights to Jerry Rothwell’s Sundance winner The Reason I Jump.

UK outfit Parkland struck a double deal on romantic drama 23 Walks, starring Alison Steadman and Dave Johns.

Films Boutique closed deals with top distributors on Golden Bear winner Ildikó Enyedi’s The Story Of My Wife.

Playtime sealed a raft of deals on François Ozon’s Summer of 85 including to Israel (Lev Cinema), Poland (Against Gravity), Spain (Golem), Switzerland’s (Filmcoopi) and Latin America (California Filmes), South Korea (Challan) and Ex-Yugoslavia (MCF).

Paris-based distributor Art House Films acquired French rights to Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s war epic Wife Of A Spy, which is being sold internationally by Japan’s Nikkatsu.

Jinga Films sold Gerard Marcos de Mas’ erotic black comedy Red Latex to Lighthouse Home Entertainment for Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland. 

MARKET (ASIA)

South Korea’s K-Movie Entertainment announced pre-sales on fantasy action film Spiritwalker.

South Korea’s M-Line Distribution sealed a raft of deals on Rotterdam Tiger Competition Special Jury Award winner Beasts Clawing At Straws led by French-speaking territories (Wild Bunch), Japan (Klockworx) and North America (815 Pictures). 

Central Partnership sold new comedy Son Of A Rich to Chinese streaming giant iQiyi.

(Deals reported by Elisabet Cabeza, Melanie Goodfellow, Geoffrey Macnab, Wendy Mitchell, Gabriele Niola, Jean Noh and Liz Shackleton)

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