Distribber grabs U.S. rights for trio of festival pix

Gotham-based specialty distribution boutique Kino Intl. has closed U.S. acquisition deals on three fall festival titles, including debuting Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “The Return,” which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Intl. Film Festival.

Distrib also picked up Israeli helmer Amos Gitai’s mosaic of life in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, “Alila,” and prolific Portuguese vet Manoel de Oliveira’s multilingual voyage through history, “A Talking Picture,” which stars Leonor Silveira, John Malkovich, Catherine Deneuve, Stefania Sandrelli and Irene Papas.

Venice-Toronto paths

All three films world-premiered at the Venice fest and segued to Toronto, where they were seen by Kino Intl. president Don Krim, who beat out offers from two rival distribs for “The Return.”

The Russian drama deals with two boys whose lives are thrown off-kilter by the unexpected return after a long interval of the father whose absence they had mourned.

” ‘The Return’ has Tarkosvky’s visual sense and a John Frankenheimer plot,” Krim said. “We feel there’s going to be a very solid audience for this unusual film by a first-time director, and we’ll be mounting a very serious Academy campaign.”

Oscar aims

Both “The Return” and “A Talking Picture” have been submitted this year for foreign-language Oscar consideration, representing respectively Russia and Portugal. Kino also recently picked up Austrian Oscar submission “Free Radicals,” by Barbara Albert, which screened this month in the New York Film Festival.

“The Return” was produced by Dmitry Lesnevsky for Ren Film, with Elana Kovaleva as exec producer; “A Talking Picture” is a Portuguese-French-Italian co-production from Madragoa Filmes, Gemini Films, Mikado Film and France 2 Cinema, produced by Paulo Branco; “Alila” is a

French-Israeli co-prod, produced by Michel Propper and Alain Mamou-Mani for MP Prods., with Gitai exec producing.

Krim negotiated the deal on “The Return” with Raisa Fomina of Intercinema, Moscow; on “A Talking Picture” with Laurent Baudens of Paris-based Gemini; and on “Alila” with Pierre Menahem from Celluloid Dreams, also of Paris.

“Alila” will be the fourth of Gitai’s recent films released in the U.S. by Kino, starting with “Kadosh.”

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