Cinepix nabs ‘Love,’ ‘Sick,’ ‘Junk’ rights

Cinepix Film Properties has acquired distribution rights to three award-winning, specialized films, including “Love and Death on Long Island,” which premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at last month’s Cannes Film Festival.

The New York-based indie beat out several other arthouse distribs to pick up the film, which stars John Hurt and Jason Priestley. First-time director Richard Kwietniowski received a Pierrot award, the European critics’ prize given out for the first time this year at Cannes.

Based on Gilbert Adair’s cult novel of the same name, the film is produced by Skyline Films’ Steve Clark-Hall and Imagex’s Chris Zimmer. Alison Thompson, chief executive of the Sales Co., negotiated the deal on behalf of the producers.

CFP also acquired North American rights to the documentary “Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist,” produced and directed by Kirby Dick.

“Sick” won a special jury prize at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival as well as the audience award for best feature at the recent Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. It was repped by Steven Beer of Rudolph and Beer.

Additionally, CFP acquired North American rights to “Junk Mail,” which premiered in the Critics’ Week section at Cannes and won the top prize in that category. The Norwegian black comedy concerns a love-starved mailman.

The first feature from commercial helmer Pal Sletaune stars Robert Skjaerstad, Andrine Saether and Per Egil Aske. The deal was handled by Bjor Veland of BV Intl. AS.

“I see only one or two foreign films a year that can compete in today’s marketplace,” said Adam Rogers, Cinepix VP of U.S. distribution. “And ‘Junk Mail’ is definitely one of them.”

CFP has established itself as one of the most successful independent specialized distributors. Its March 7 release, “The Daytrippers,” has grossed $1.8 million, and Peter Green-away’s “The Pillow Book,” has earned $642,000, just 17 days weeks into its platform run.

Rogers noted that those two films have attracted audiences in suburban multiplexes as well as more traditional urban arthouse markets. He credits general sales manger Tom Ortenberg with booking the pics into more — and higher quality — venues.

“Sick” is scheduled for Nov. 8. “Love and Death” is tentatively set for a late fall-early winter release, while “Junk Mail” will go out sometime in winter 1998.

CFP’s next release, due out in late August, is Jonathan Nossiter’s “Sunday,” which won the grand jury prize for dramatic film and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

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