Move follows Berlin buying spree

ROME — Following a Berlin buying spree, emerging Italo film shingle Officine Ubu is branching out into exhibition with a small but significant stake in nationwide specialty loop Circuito Cinema.

Ubu has taken an approximately 5% stake in the exhib, which operates some 200 Italo arthouse screens, ensuring an outlet for commercially viable imports. Loop is operated in a partnership whose other members include prominent players BIM, Lucky Red, 01 and Medusa.

Move by Ubu, which is headed by Franco Zuliani, is part of an expansion plan after former Lucky Red exec Ernesto Grassi recently came on board as Ubu general manager. The Milan-based outfit also has a small production side.

Upcoming Ubu prestige releases include Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s “Chicken With Plums,” Philippe Falardeau’s “Monsieur Lazhar,” and Tony Kaye’s “Detachment,” starring Adrien Brody.

Ubu picked up “Lazhar” at the EFM mart, bucking the current trend that sees Italo buyers passing almost systematically on specialty imports, as the economic crisis increasingly drives Italo auds toward escapist local laffers. At EFM Ubu also acquired Julie Delpy’s Sundance pic “2 Days in New York” and Berlin competish title “Elles,” by Malgorata Szumowska, toplining Juliette Binoche.

On the production side, Ubu’s most recent title is docu “La Bottega italiana di Terry Gilliam,” about helmer Terry Gilliam and his Italian collaborators.

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