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‘Fear’ helps Christal over language barrier

Burns-helmed pic set to unveil at Toronto Fest

MONTREAL — Lions Gate’s Quebec distribber Christal Films is expanding into English Canada with a slate of English-language pics.

It is kicking-off with “A Problem With Fear,” which is the opening-night selection of Perspective Canada at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival next month and will also play the Vancouver and Calgary festivals.

“Fear,” directed by Calgary helmer Gary Burns, will open commercially in Toronto in September.

“We want to take the expertise we’ve developed in Quebec and use that to aggressively market films across Canada,” said Christian Larouche, president of Christal Films. The expansion will be undertaken in collaboration with Lions Gatre’s Toronto office.

Christal has acquired Canadian rights to “Twist,” a modern-day re-telling of Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” from first-time feature writer-director Jacob Tierney.

The Tierney pic stars Nick Stahl (“Terminator 3”) and is produced by Victoria Hirst. It will have its world preem at the Venice Intl. Film Festival next week and is also unspooling in Perspective Canada at the Toronto fest.

Christal is a major player in the distribution of European and Quebecois cinema in French Canada, and its past pics include the “Les Boys” trilogy and “Elvis Gratton 2”.

Christal will launch French helmer Cedric Klapisch’s cross-cultural Euro comedy “L’Auberge Espagnole” across Canada Oct. 10 followed by Claude Chabrol’s “Flower of Evil” in November, Alain Corneau’s “Fear and Trembling” in January, Quebec helmer Jean Beaudin’s “Nouvelle France” starring Gerard Depardieu, and “Pinocchio 3000,” a Canadian 3D animation feature with voices by Whoopi Goldberg and Howie Mandel.

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