Fortissimo to set up shop in Gotham

Company expands offices to N.Y.

Reflecting an expanding slate of English-language movies and corporate growth of 25%, Fortissimo Films is to open a sales and acquisitions office in Gotham.

New branch, which will open before September’s Toronto fest, will be headed by Winnie Lau who is promoted to senior veep and relocates from Hong Kong. Lau has been with Fortissimo five years and previously was distribution manager at Golden Harvest.

Gotham bow will give the independent sales and production finance outfit, headed by Wouter Barendrecht and Michael J. Werner, a physical presence around the globe. In addition to its Amsterdam management office and its Hong Kong executive seat, Fortissimo already has offices in London and Sydney.

Company has close relationships with Gotham-based Sloss Law/Cinetic Media, Hart Sharp Entertainment, IFC and with talent including helmers Jim Jarmusch and Mira Nair.

English-language pictures include Cannes’ “Sketches of Frank Gehry,” helmed by Sydney Pollack, and John Cameron Mitchell’s “Shortbus.”

Mary Jane Skalski will continue as acquisitions consultant. During Cannes it added to its slate by boarding U.S. auteur Todd Solondz’s untitled new project.

“Shortbus” is the company’s top seller at Cannes in numerical terms. Fortissimo inked deals on the sex comedy with Bim for Italy, Central Partnership for Russia, Oro for Norway, Ster Kinekor for South Africa, Aero for the Czech Republic, Sponge for South Korea and Budapest Film for Hungary.

In other deals it sold Alex van Warmerdam’s “Waiter” to France’s Bac Films and United King in Israel.

On the Solondz project, it struck an early pre-sale with A-Film for Benelux. With “When the Road Bends” it signed deals with AMG for Japan and Pretty Pictures for France.

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