Canuck ‘Mambo’ dances to U.S. beat

Prod'n co. to release pix in a few key markets

MONTREAL — The Samuel Goldwyn Company has acquired U.S. rights to the Canuck comedy “Mambo Italiano” from Montreal-based Equinoxe Films.

Goldwyn plans to release the Montreal-shot pic in four or five key U.S. markets in the fall.

“Mambo Italiano” stars Paul Sorvino, Quebec pop star and thesp Ginette Reno, Mary Walsh, Luke Kirby, Peter Miller, Claudia Ferri and Sophie Lorain, and is directed by Montreal helmer Emile Gaudreault. Gaudreault’s first feature, “Wedding Night,” was the top-grossing film in Canada two years ago.

The script is by Gaudreault and Steve Galluccio and is based on Galluccio’s play, which has had successful runs in Toronto and Montreal. The play was a big hit in English and French in Montreal. Pic is produced by Montreal-based Cinemaginaire.

It is a comedy story about a dysfunctional Italian immigrant family in Little Italy in Montreal and chronicles what happens when the parents discover that their son is gay.

” ‘Mambo Italiano’ is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long time, and this is a time when people want to laugh,” Goldwyn prexy Meyer Gottlieb said. “It has similarities to ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ in that it’s a family comedy and it will hit the funny-bones of the same audiences.”

The deal was negotiated by Gottlieb and Yves Dion, vice-president of distribution at Equinoxe.

“We are very excited to have Samuel Goldwyn as the U.S. distributor for ‘Mambo Italiano,’ ” Dion said. “Their passion for the film and their expertise in marketing and distribution is a perfect fit for this fresh, spicy comedy.”

Equinoxe, which has world rights to the pic, has already sold it to Icon in the U.K. and Australia, Lola Films for Spain and Italy, Splendid Films in Germany and Shani Films in Israel. The next sales push internationally will come at the Cannes market, where it is screening.

Equinoxe plans to release the film on 100 screens in Quebec on June 6, with French and English copies, and later in the summer in the rest of Canada.

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