‘Springtime’ springs distrib deal

'Park's' content makes for probable unrated release

VENICE — Registering the strongest Venice fest business in the company’s history, Fortissimo Film Sales has closed acquisition deals in a number of territories, including the U.K., on Larry Clark’s “Ken Park” and Tian Zhuangzhuang’s “Springtime in a Small Town.”

Clark’s sexually explicit glimpse into the dark world of Californian teens, “Ken Park” was sold to MetroTartan for U.K. release and landed distrib pacts in Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, Russia, Portugal, Greece, Thailand and South Africa, with other territories in negotiation.

While Fortissimo joint principal Wouter Barendrecht anticipates locking U.S. distribution in Toronto, the pic’s shocking content makes an unrated release an inevitable necessity, limiting potential buyers to indie companies. Only studio-affiliated players such as Miramax, Fine Line, Paramount Classics and Focus Features were repped on the Lido.

Fortissimo sold U.K. rights to “Springtime” to Artificial Eye. A remake of a Chinese classic about emotional entanglements in a post-WWII rural town, the well-received drama also sold to France, Japan, Benelux, Israel and Greece, with offers in for Scandinavia and early interest for the U.S.

“We had four films premiering here, making it our most successful Venice in terms of numbers,” said Fortissimo co-chairman Michael Werner. “We also had a big turnout to support the pictures, with all of our directors and large delegations here, so with the sales on top of that, this was our biggest year ever in Venice.”

In addition to “Ken Park” and “Springtime,” both of which screened in the alternative Upstream competition, Fortissimo had two entries in the main Venice competition: Taiwanese director Chang Tso-chi’s “The Best of Times” and “Bear’s Kiss,” from Russian helmer Sergei Bodrov.

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