You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sony, Strand dealing in Toronto

Companies nab rights to 'Secret,' ' Lan Yu,' 'Hush!'

TORONTO — Sony Pictures Classics has struck first blood at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival, snagging North American rights to Iranian filmmaker Babak Payami’s “Secret Ballot.”

Payami won best director at the Venice Film Festival. SPC bought the sophomore pic, a light look at the election process in rural Iran, from Paris-based Celluloid Dreams.

Meanwhile, Strand Releasing has acquired domestic rights to two Asian pics: Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan’s “Lan Yu” and Japanese helmer Hashiguchi Ryosuke’s romantic comedy “Hush!”

The few English-language pics for which domestic rights are available have generated interest but no firm deals yet. Acquisitions execs packed the Uptown Theatre on Yonge Street Friday night to watch the world premiere of Rose Troche’s “The Safety of Objects,” starring Glenn Close and Dermot Mulroney, produced by InFilms’ Dorothy Berwin and Killer Films’ Christine Vachon. At the post-pic bash, attorney John Sloss, who is selling the pic, said: “It’s a particular film that needs the right distributor.” A deal is expected by fest’s end.

McConaughey to the rescue

“Thirteen Conversations about One Thing,” directed by Jill Sprecher, also garnered positive reaction Friday night. The William Morris Agency Independent’s Cassian Elwes says acquisitions interest for the pic is high. But rather than buzzing about the content of pic, talk centered on an incident during the screening: a Toronto woman fainted mid-way through the pic and co-star Matthew McConaughey rushed to try to help her. Toronto Sun on Sunday reported the incident on its front page.

Gregor Jordan’s “Buffalo Soldiers” was the hot ticket Saturday night, with the post-party bash at Left Bank, thrown by Film Four and GoodMachine, attracting a room full of top execs, including New Line topper Robert Shaye, Sony Pictures Classics’ Tom Bernard and Michael Barker; Good Machine’s David Linde and James Schamus; and Film Four’s Rebecca Yeldham. Execs from Good Machine, which is selling off the pic’s domestic rights, say they expect a deal by fest’s end.

Domestic rights for another GoodMachine pic, “Lovely and Amazing,” which preemed at Telluride last week, are also still up for grabs. Though a deal seemed imminent with Fox Searchlight, that pact unraveled, with new bidders more likely takers.

“Prozac Nation,” starring Christina Ricci screened Saturday night to decidedly mixed reaction; the pic still seeks a domestic distrib.

In other deals, Orfeo Films has sold a slew of rights, including in the U.K., Germany, France and Italy, to Venice Golden Lion winner, “Monsoon Wedding,” directed Mira Nair. USA Films is distributing domestically.

(David Rooney in Venice contributed to this report.)

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Director Fernando Meirelles'The Two Popes' film

    Fernando Meirelles' Next Project Will Be Climate-Change Drama for Netflix

    Acclaimed Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles said Tuesday that his next film will be another project for Netflix, like his current film, “The Two Popes.” The new feature will be a drama about climate change, Meirelles (“City of God”) told a masterclass at the Mumbai Film Festival, where “The Two Popes” is screening. “I’m not going [...]

  • Ken Loach. Palme D'Or - I,

    Ken Loach, Fernando Meirelles Heap More Criticism on Marvel Movies

    Veteran British director Ken Loach and acclaimed Brazilian helmer Fernando Meirelles (“City of God”) have piled on the criticism of Marvel films. Two-time Palme d’Or winner Loach described comic-book movies as “commodities…like hamburgers,” while Meirelles said he was “not interested” in the genre. The pair are the latest directors to echo Martin Scorsese’s disdain for [...]

  • Martinez

    Luxbox Boards Lorena Padilla’s ‘Martinez,’ Starring Francisco Reyes (EXCLUSIVE)

    MORELIA, Mexico — Paris-based Luxbox has picked up international sales rights to Guadalajara native Lorena Padilla’s debut feature “Martinez,” toplining Francisco Reyes who starred opposite Daniela Vega in Chile’s Oscar-winning “A Fantastic Woman.” “We have totally embraced the singularity of this project which brings to our eyes the potential of a film that can entertain [...]


    Berlin-based Pluto Films Snags Sales Rights to Joshua Gil’s ‘Sanctorum’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MORELIA, Mexico — Berlin-based Pluto Film Distribution has picked up the international sales rights, with the exception of Mexico, to Joshua Gil’s ‘Sanctorum,” which competes at the 17th Morelia Int’l Film Festival (FICM). Founded by Torsten Frehse, the fledgling world sales and festival distribution company has an eye for arthouse and crossover films as well as features from emerging [...]

  • Crowds Of German Refugees Pictured On

    'Last Days in Vietnam's' Rory Kennedy to Direct AR Content’s Refugee Documentary (EXCLUSIVE)

    Alexander Rodnyansky’s AR Content – in partnership with Kevin Macdonald, an Oscar winner with “One Day in September,” and Rosanne Korenberg – has tapped Academy Award nominated and Emmy winning director Rory Kennedy, best known for “Last Days in Vietnam,” to direct its untitled documentary centering on a little-known refugee crisis immediately preceding World War [...]

  • Global Screen Nabs ‘Amazing Maurice,’ Based

    Global Screen Picks Up ‘The Amazing Maurice,’ Based on Terry Pratchett’s Novel (EXCLUSIVE)

    Global Screen has picked up worldwide distribution rights, excluding North America, the U.K. and German-speaking territories, to the English-language animated feature “The Amazing Maurice,” based on a Terry Pratchett novel. The screenplay has been written by Terry Rossio, Oscar-nominated for “Shrek.” Rossio’s credits also include the animated movie “Aladdin” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” [...]

  • Yoji Yamada-directed film is to open

    Tokyo Market: Shochiku Launches Horror, Comedy and Mystery Lineup

    Major Japanese studio, Shochiku has the honor of leading off next week’s Tokyo International Film Festival with its “Tora-san, Wish You Were Here.” The film is a revival of a beloved in-house drama franchise, directed by veteran Yoji Yamada, that is set as the event’s opening night gala presentation. Before that, the company has the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content