Fest grows as meeting ground for buyers, sellers

Stuart Ford’s IM Global is treating the Toronto Film Festival like a full-scale film market this year, renting out the Presidential Suite atop the Hyatt Regency and launching new titles, including “Skyline 2.”

IM Global is just one of a clutch of companies increasingly turning to Toronto even though it’s not an official market. Toronto has become an ever more important meeting ground for pic buyers and sellers, with nearly every sales company having either an official or casual presence.

This year, there’s a new twist: With the festival moving to its new home at the Bell Lightbox in the entertainment district of Toronto, the fest will become more centralized. Many sales companies will be based at the Hyatt Regency, the festival’s official host hotel that’s right next door to the Bell.

Part of the reason that Toronto has become an unofficial sales market is the timing. Falling midway between Cannes in May and the American Film Market in early November, sales agents use Toronto to continue sell-ing titles introduced at Cannes, or to launch new titles they’re taking to AFM.

IM Global is involved with four films screening at the festival — Will Ferrell starrer “Everything Must Go,” “Insidious,” “Bunraku” and “Vanishing on 7th Street.” Earlier this year, Reliance Big Entertainment took a major stake in Ford’s company.

Outside of the official festival, IM Global will be offering “Skyline 2″ and Barry Levinson zombie eco-thriller “The Bay” for the first time to foreign distribs. The former is a sequel to alien invasion pic “Skyline,” the Colin and Greg Strause-directed pic that Relativity and Universal will open in theaters this fall.

“The Bay” will be sold via IM Global’s Octane genre label. Film was produced by “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious” producers Jason Blum, Oren Peli and Steven Schneider (IM Global handled foreign sales on “Paranormal Activity”). Brian Kavanaugh Jones also is producing “The Bay” via IM Global’s Automatik production label, a joint venture with Alliance Communications.

Revolving around an infectious outbreak in a Maryland town, “The Bay” is told from the perspective of the people who left behind their camera phones and other electronic devices, along with 911 calls and scraps of video and sound capturing the community falling into chaos.

IM Global also will be selling Pete Travis’ “Dredd 3D,” the $45 million comicbook adaptation that Reliance is financing and producing with DNA Films. Project, announced during Cannes, will star Karl Urban.

“With so much activity within the company, there’s no suggestion of me asking Jonathan Deckter and his sales team to sit on their hands until AFM. We are all systems go for Toronto,” Ford said.

Kirk D’Amico’s Myriad Pictures will use Toronto to show the first footage of Kevin Spacey Wall Street thriller “Margin Call” and horse racing adventure “The Cup” to overseas buyers.

“Margin Call” also toplines Jeremy Irons and Zachary Quinto. “The Cup” stars Brendon Gleeson and Stephen Curry. Myriad’s slate also includes Jacob Tierney’s thriller “Good Neighbors,” which makes its world preem at Toronto. Film stars Jay Baruchel and Scott Speedman.

Other companies, such as Focus Features Intl., won’t have an official suite in Toronto. Instead, execs like Focus Intl. prexy Alison Thompson will use the more casual atmosphere Toronto provides to meet informally with clients.

Focus Intl.’s slate includes four films playing at Toronto: Mike Leigh’s “Another Year,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Biutiful,” Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” and Robert Redford’s “The Conspirator.”

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