Life ‘Sweet’ for Allen, Cecchi Gori

Italo distribbery gets Penn starrer

VENICE — Continuing its longstanding relationship with Woody Allen, Cecchi Gori has acquired the Italian distribution rights to “Sweet and Lowdown,” the filmmaker’s current Venice Film Festival screener.

Cecchi Gori previously released Allen’s “Mighty Aphrodite,” “Everyone Says I Love You,” “Deconstructing Harry” and “Celebrity.”

Low profile

The once-active Italian distribution company has kept a low profile in the acquisitions arena during the past year, with “Sweet and Lowdown” thought to be the only high-profile film the company was pursuing. The courtship began during the Cannes Film Festival in May. Though Allen is a favorite of Italian auds, Cecchi Gori is understood to have lost money on “Celebrity,” leading some observers to speculate that the company might discontinue its relationship with Allen and producer Jean Doumanian.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Intermedia Films is handling the international sales of the pic.

“Sweet and Lowdown” is the story of an eccentric but highly talented jazz guitarist (played by Sean Penn). Pic follows the character as he moves though several harrowing escapades with lovers, fellow musicians and gangsters. Uma Thurman and Samantha Morton also star.

“Sweet and Lowdown” had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday, with U.S. distributor Sony Pictures Classics holding a sneak screening at the Telluride Film Festival later the same day.