Kino Int’l gets ‘Free’ ride at New York Fest

Austrian pic deals with a death that affects a small town

NEW YORK — Marking the first U.S. acquisition from the limited crop of available titles in this year’s New York Film Festival lineup, Kino Intl. has picked up writer-director Barbara Albert’s ensemble drama “Free Radicals,” which is the Austrian submission in the 2003 foreign-language Oscar race.

The multicharacter drama concerns people bound together by fate and by their common subconscious desire to discover and understand what lies beyond the visible world. Story centers on the inhabitants of a small Austrian town whose lives are touched by the death of a young woman.

Produced by Antonin Svoboda and Martin Gschlacht, pic is an Austrian-German-Swiss co-production from Coop99, Zero Film Sudwest and Fama Film.

“In her deft fusing of a multi-level narrative, eclectic musical score and a rich canvas of imagery, Barbara Albert’s ‘Free Radicals’ was the most exciting new film we’ve seen on this fall’s festival circuit,” said Kino general manager Gary Palmucci.

Kino Intl. president Don Krim and Palmucci closed the acquisition with Pierre Menahem of Paris-based sales outfit Celluloid Dreams. The New York-based specialty distrib is planning a spring 2004 release.

Pickup marks the company’s third Austrian feature in recent years, after releasing Michael Haneke’s “The Piano Teacher” theatrically and acquiring Ulrich Seidl’s “Dog Days” for DVD.

Only 10 of the 26 features selected for this year’s New York Film Festival are without U.S. distribution in place. Other titles expected to spark distrib interest include French helmer Jacques Doillon’s “Raja” and Italian veteran Marco Bellocchio’s “Good Morning Night.”

Fest runs through Sunday, closing with Focus Features’ “21 Grams,” from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

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