Reel Fish bite

D'Works arthouse arm floats first pix

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the beach …

DreamWorks is preparing a traffic-snarling publicity stunt at the Carlton Hotel today as part of the promotional assault on the Cannes Film Festival for “Shrek 2” and “Shark Tale.”

“Shark Tale” cast members Will Smith, Jack Black and Angelina Jolie are expected to arrive at the Carlton pier at midday, traveling on a boat in the shape of a shark.

But there’s another DreamWorks story at Cannes, one that isn’t likely to make quite the same splash. On May 20 at the Palais, the studio’s specialty film label Go Fish will screen its second U.S. release, “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence,” a Japanese anime pic that’s competing with “Shrek 2” for the Palme d’Or.

Go Fish is DreamWorks’ year-old niche release label, a belated entry in a crowded field that also includes Fox Searchlight, Focus Features, Paramount Classics, Sony Pictures Classics, Fine Line, United Artists and the newly formed Warner Independent.

Go Fish was unveiled in August, but DreamWorks has been slow to assemble a slate for the label, and questions have swirled around its identity and purpose. DreamWorks has dabbled in the specialty business, most recently with “The House of Sand and Fog,” which bowed in December in a platform release, supported by an Oscar campaign. But “House” wasn’t a Go Fish release.

The future of Go Fish is finally growing a bit more clear. The label has set a Sept. 17 U.S. release date for “Innocence.” Pic will unspool on a limited number of screens in major cities. “Innocence” — the sequel to the 1995 film, also directed by Mamoru Oshii — is the first anime film in competition at Cannes.

“Innocence” is the second Japanese anime film for the specialty division. The first Go Fish release was last year’s “Millennium Actress,” by director Satoshi Kon.

DreamWorks has also selected the first live-action feature for Go Fish: an untitled film directed by Arie Posin and starring Ralph Fiennes and Rita Wilson. Principal photography began in mid-April.

Go Fish was set up with the intent of tapping into the growing market of lower-budget art house films; it permits DreamWorks to acquire projects that may not be suited to a national release campaign. It also could help fill out DreamWorks’ slate. DreamWorks released just six pics in 2003, not including co-productions and its one Go Fish release

Joan Filippini heads distribution at Go Fish and Michael Vollman oversees marketing.

The Arie Posin film is being financed jointly by El Camino Pictures and Equity Pictures Medienfonds. Foreign sales are being overseen in Cannes by Millennium Films’ Avi Lerner and Danny Dimbort. Besides Fiennes and Wilson, the cast includes Glenn Close, Allison Janney, Carrie-Anne Moss and Jamie Bell.