Miramax buys ‘Blue’ toon

ROME — Miramax Films has paid $1 million for all rights for the U.S., U.K. and all previously unsold territories to the Italian animated kidpic “The Blue Arrow,” according to reports in the Italian press Monday.

The sale initially was negotiated in November by original rights handler Sacis at Mifed, but contractual problems with one of the co-producers stalled the deal. The film’s producers subsequently renegotiated directly with Miramax, announcing the agreement this weekend during Cartoons on the Bay Animation fest in Amalfi on the Southern Italian coast.

Reports from Amalfi indicated that the film will go out through Buena Vista. However, when contacted by Daily Variety, Miramax declined to confirm or supply details of the deal.

Based on the novel by children’s author Gianni Rodari, “The Blue Arrow” centers on the legend of the Befana, a good witch that flies in on a broomstick bringing gifts to Italian tykes each year on Jan. 6, the Epiphany Holiday. The story recounts a crisis year, when Befana is too ill to make deliveries and her evil assistant schemes to favor rich brats over the poor, honest kids.

Directed by children’s television specialist Enzo d’Alo, the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival last fall. The Italy-Switzerland-Luxembourg co-production is the first feature-length animated feature to come out of Italy in 20 years.

Maria Fares of Turin-based animation studio Lanterna Magica produced; Italian crooner Paolo Conte recently won a Nastro d’Argento critics award for his musical score of the film.

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