AFM briefs

Par says hello to August’s ‘Goodbye’

Paramount has acquired the Bille August-helmed “Goodbye Bafana” for the U.K., France and Spain. Pic is the adaptation of the diary of James Gregory the warden in charge of Nelson Mandela during his long jail term.

Pic is a multinational European co-production and stars Joseph Fiennes, Diane Kruger and Dennis Haysbert.

Film, now in post-production, is made on a $15 million budget and is handled in international territories by Celluloid Dreams.

In a separate move Celluloid sold Australian dance movie “Razzle Dazzle: A Journey Into Dance” to Sony for U.K release. Helmed by Darren Ashton, pic stars Ben Miller, Kerry Armstrong and Paul Mercurio.

— Patrick Frater

First Look nabs ‘Danika,’ ‘Mr. Fix It’

First Look Studios has acquired “Danika” and “Mr. Fix It” for worldwide distribution through its First Look Television division.

First Look made the announcement in conjunction with the American Film Market.

“Danika,” an AFI Festival selection, is a psychological thriller about a devoted wife and overprotective mother who experiences terrifying delusions and wonders if she is having visions of future events. It stars Marisa Tomei, Craig Bierko and Regina Hall.

“Mr. Fix It” is a romantic comedy starring David Boreanaz as a man hired to trick women into returning to their ex-boyfriends and who finds himself falling for one of his marks.

First Look also announced Gary Hirsch has joined the company as exec VP of acquisitions. He was senior VP of acquisitions and business affairs for Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

First Look has also promoted Alana Crow and Brenda Anderson to slots at VP, business & legal affairs from their previous posts as director of legal affairs.

— Dave McNary

Sunset rises to great ‘Hammond Heroes’

Sunset Pictures, headed by Martin Guigui, has picked up world distrib rights to music docu “Hammond Heroes” from Matt Rogers and Rick Gilbert.

Pic centers on the history of the Hammond organ and its role in the shaping of pop music.

Helmer and producer Rogers is a music writer who has worked for the Village Voice, New York Amsterdam News and PopMatters while Gilbert, who also produced, is a shutterbug and events producer who has worked with Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder and Joe Cocker.

Project follows the evolution of the Hammond, from its invention in 1934, to its induction into the worlds of church music, jazz, R&B, reggae and rock.

Sunset’s slate also includes “National Lampoon’s Cattle Call” and “Benny Bliss & the Disciples of Greatness” as well as the sports drama “Sweetwater.”

— Ian Mohr

Cinema Epoch farms ‘Empty Acre’

Cinema Epoch Films has acquired the psychological horror film “The Empty Acre” for international distribution.

Shingle made the announcement at the American Film Market.

“Acre” is the feature debut for short-film director Patrick Rea, whose pics have appeared on DVDs such as the “Hollywood Scarefest” and “Fangoria’s Blood Drive.”

Filmed entirely in Kansas, “The Empty Acre” centers on an unseen force that feeds on a small town from a dead acre of land on a young couple’s property. Jennifer Plas stars.

— Dave McNary

‘Tomo’ gains Momentum

Momentum Pictures has acquired the sci-fi feature “Tomo” for theatrical distribution in the U.K. Concept artist and creature designer Paul Catling will co-write and direct the pic, which will be a mix of live action and CGI animation. Matthew Justice (“Blade”) will produce through Lunar Film. Deal was negotiated at AFM by Momentum’s Robert Walak and Becker Intl.’s Iain Canning. “Tomo” is based on a short film of the same name that won the international short-film prize at Sundance in 2004. Pic is in pre-production and set for release in 2008.

— Jeff Sneider

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