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Ozpetek opens new ‘Windows’

Drama to be financed, distributed domestically by Mikado

Following his 2001 Italian hit “Ignorant Fairies,” director Ferzan Ozpetek will start shooting in August on “Le Finestre di fronte” (The Windows Opposite) for Rome-based R&C Produzioni, which is in Cannes negotiating international presales and co-production involvement.

New project represents a break from powerhouse distrib Medusa Film, which handled the previous two features by Turkish-born Ozpetek, long based in Italy. The drama will be financed and distributed domestically by newly flush arthouse banner Mikado.

Latter company is increasing its investment in Italian cinema after publishing and media giant De Agostini’s recent acquisition of a majority stake in the long-established producer-distributor, headed by Roberto Cicutto and Luigi Musini.

Set in Rome and scripted by Ozpetek with regular co-writer Gianni Romoli, “Windows” centers on a young working class couple whose encounter with an old man suffering from memory loss helps them to reacquire the key to love.

“This is a film about the memory and rediscovery of emotion and true feeling, something that’s been a little lost in today’s society,” says producer Tilde Corsi, who heads R&C with Romoli.

Ozpetek’s “Ignorant Fairies” was a box office smash in Italy, its $9 million gross making it the third-highest earner among Italian productions in 2001. The film will open in the U.S. via Strand Releasing in the fall, retitled “His Secret Life.” Strand also had a hit with Ozpetek’s 1997 debut feature “Steam — The Turkish Bath.”

U.S. remake rights to “Ignorant Fairies” currently are being negotiated by TF1 Intl., which handled world sales and is in talks with R&C to board the new project, budgeted at $4 million. Casting is expected to begin soon with domestic release scheduled for February.