Torre drama gets Lucky

Sicilian story specialist sells 'Angela'

ROME — Italian distributor Lucky Red has picked up domestic theatrical,homevideo and pay TV rights to Roberta Torre’s “Angela,” drama based on the true story of the wife of a Palermo underworld figure, which has its world premiere May 19 at Cannes in the Directors Fortnight.

The unsentimental story of a passionate, resolute woman in an unforgiving man’s world was produced by sisters Lierka and Rita Rusic. It stars legit actress Donatella Finocchiaro in her first film role, alongside Andrea Di Stefano (“Before Night Falls”) and Mario Pupella.

“I was completely taken by surprise by this extraordinarily involving film,” says Lucky Red

topper Andrea Occhipinti. “It represents a complete change of style for Roberta as well as a new approach to depicting the Mafia in Italian cinema, making human beings and not the Mafia itself the protagonists.”

During her tenure with former husband Vittorio Cecchi Gori’s film group, Rita Rusic was responsible for a string of hit comedies. Since going solo,her banner, Rita Rusic Co., has teamed with financial partner MovieWeb on two mainstream comedies and a teen pic, all of which delivered disappointing B.O. results.

“Angela” marks a shift to more upscale fare for the production venture, whose previous titles went out through Columbia TriStar Italia.

Pic is the third feature from former documaker Torre, a native of Milan who specializes in Sicilian stories. Her previous films were 1997’s irreverent Mafia musical “Tano da morire,”

which was a hit for Lucky Red; and 1998’s “Sud Side Story,” an interracial romance updating the “Romeo and Juliet” tragedy.

Lucky Red is planning a fall release for “Angela,” which is being sold internationally in Cannes by Adriana Chiesa Enterprises.

Other Cannes titles recently acquired by the Italian distrib include Mike Leigh’s competition entry “All or Nothing” from StudioCanal and Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Directors

Fortnight entry “Mon-rak Transistor,” from Fortissimo Film Sales.