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Icahn group eyes ‘The Thief’

In final talks to acquire Russian-language pic

NEW YORK — Carl Icahn’s newly formed Stratosphere Entertainment is in final talks to acquire Pavel Chukhrai’s Russian-language film “The Thief” for low to mid-six figures at the European Film Market in Berlin, sources said Wednesday.

“Thief” has been nominated for the best foreign-language film Oscar, marking the fourth time that Russia has received a nom in this category. Earlier this week in Berlin, Miramax Films picked up the German-lingo pic “Beyond Silence,” which is also in the running for best foreign-language film.

Written by Chukhrai, “Thief” is a coming-of-age story set in the USSR of the 1950s, where only the tough survive. It stars Vladimir Mashkov, Ekatarina Rednikova and Misha Philipchuk. Chukhrai’s previous credits include the award-winning film “Remember Me as I Am.”

“Thief” was produced by Igor Tolstunov. It is an NTV-Profit (Russia)/Productions le Pont (France)/Roissy Films (France) production.

If the deal is closed, “Thief” will mark Stratosphere’s first acquisition since president Paul Cohen announced the company’s slate Jan. 17 at the Sundance Film Festival. Stratosphere’s release schedule includes German helmer Katja von Garnier’s “Bandits,” Adam Bernstein’s “Six Ways to Sunday,” Dan Zukovic’s “The Last Big Thing” and Patriot Pictures’ “One Tough Cop.”

Stratosphere was not available for comment.

(Miriam Hils in Berlin contributed to this report.)

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