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International Newswire: Princess Diana Crash Documentary Sells to U.S., U.K., Europe; Reveals Fresh Facts

In today’s International Newswire, a documentary revealing new facts about the death of Princess Diana sells to the U.S. and multiple European territories; Sony acquires North American rights to Spanish black comedy “Abracadabra”; and Georgia, Palestine, Ukraine and Venezuela select their Oscar entries.

Banijay Rights has signed deals in the U.S., Europe and South Africa for “Diana’s Death: The Search for the Truth,” the one-hour special that, 20 years on from Princess Diana’s death in Paris, uncovers shocking new information about the accident.

The show was produced by Tony Comiti and directed by Manuel Laigre for M6 in France, where its recent broadcast attracted 3.5 million viewers. It uncovers evidence that the car in which she was in had been “badly damaged in a road crash, [and] was declared a write-off more than two years before the Alma Tunnel tragedy,” according to a statement.

The show has now been picked up by Reelz in the U.S., and A&E Networks for the U.K. and South Africa. In Italy it was acquired by pay-TV service Sky Italia and public broadcaster TV8. It has also been picked up in Spain by Atres for commercial free-TV broadcaster MEGA, and by AMC Networks Intl. Iberia for Odisea, in Israel by DBS, by TVN for Poland, and public broadcaster RTVS in Slovakia.

Sony to Release ‘Abracadabra’ in North America
Sony Pictures Intl. will release Pablo Berger’s spirited black comedy “Abracadabra” in North America this fall, after the film found success in its home territory, Spain. The movie, produced by Arcadia Motion Pictures, has garnered upbeat reviews in Spain — “stunning, hypnotizing,” trumpeted ABC — and €1.5 million ($1.8 million) box office to date off an Aug. 4 bow.

The move underscores Hollywood studios’ ever more energetic involvement in the international independent industry: Once the majors limited their involvement in Spanish movies to their distribution in Spain.

A fast-paced comedy, with lashes of gothic noir horror, which is sold internationally by Films Distribution, “Abracadabra” takes a swing at sexism as it pictures a Spanish macho man becoming possessed by an evil spirit. It follows up on Berger’s sleeper black-and-white silent movie-style hit “Blancanieves.” “Berger’s prior films were well-received in the U.S., and the U.S. industry is very interested to see this new work,” said Sony Intl.’s EVP Laine Kline.

So far, the biggest Spanish-language hits in the U.S. have been scored by Mexican directors, led by Eugenio Derbez. But Hollywood is eager to test the waters with other movies.

Oscars: Georgia, Palestine, Ukraine, Venezuela Select Entries
Georgia, Palestine, Ukraine and Venezuela have selected their entries in the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards.

Georgia chose Ana Urushadze’s debut “Scary Mother,” which won best feature film at the Sarajevo Film Festival. It follows a middle-aged housewife who must choose between her family and pursuing her passion, writing.

Palestine has entered Annemarie Jacir’s drama “Wajib,” which played in competition at the Locarno Film Festival. The film centers on a father and son in Nazareth who encapsulate the differences between Palestinians living in Israel and those living abroad.

Ukraine is sending Valentyn Vasyanovych’s “Black Level,” which tells the story of a 50-year-old wedding photographer, whose life falls apart as all that he loves disappears. The Fipresci jury named the film the best Ukrainian feature at the Odessa Intl. Film Festival.

Venezuela has picked boxing pic “El Inca.” Ironically the film is in legal limbo and has barely screened in its home country. The boxer’s family filed an injunction, which the filmmakers fought and won, but after a few days the family filed a counter appeal, and it was yanked from cinemas two months ago. It is about to close deals with distributors in Latin America, the U.S., and Europe.

Alicia Vikander to Present ‘Euphoria’ at the Zurich Festival
Having recently completed filming on “Tomb Raider,” Academy Award-winning actress Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”), one of continental Europe’s biggest recent breakout stars, will present Lisa Langseth’s “Euphoria” at the Zurich Film Festival, which runs Sept. 28 through Oct. 8. Vikander stars in the film opposite Eva Green as two estranged sisters. She also produced the film. As stars seem much more willing to travel, especially for films in which they have invested in any way, Zurich is carving out an identity as a festival which combines indie movies, some red carpet star power and a high-level financing conference. Speakers at this year’s 4th Zurich Summit, turning on film, technology and business, include independent producers John Lesher (“Birdman”), Christine Vachon (“Carol,” “Still Alice”) and Greg Shapiro (“Zero Dark Thirty”).

Mipcom Hosts First-Ever 4K Drama Screening: NHK’s ‘Kurara’
Mipcom, the world’s biggest TV content market, will host its first-ever official screening of a 4K drama: “Kurara: The Dazzling Life of Hokusai’s Daughter.” The first of Mipcom’s Asian World Premiere TV Screenings, “Kurara” turns on Katsushika Hokusai, arguably Japan’s best-known artist, and his daughter, O-Ei, who may have drawn some of his work. Directed by Taku Koto, “Kurara” is produced by NHK Enterprises for the Japanese public broadcaster NHK, one of the world’s pacesetters in high-definition TV.

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