Fortissimo scores ‘U-Carmen’ rights

Worldwide deal excludes South Africa

LONDON — Fortissimo Films has acquired worldwide distribution rights, excluding South Africa, to Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear winner “U-Carmen eKhayelitsha.”

“U-Carmen” is Brit helmer Mark Dornford-May’s transposition of Bizet’s opera “Carmen” to the South African township of Khayelitsha. It stars opera singer Pauline Malefane, who hails from the township, and is in “click” lingo (Xhosa).

Deal was negotiated between Tim Fox of Columbia Artists Management on behalf of the producers and Michael J. Werner on behalf of Fortissimo Films.

“U-Carmen” is the feature debut of Dornford-May as well as of the Dimpho Di Kopane (DDK) South African lyric theater group. Pic will open in South Africa on Friday.

DDK was founded in 2000 by Dornford-May and fellow Brit Charles Hazelwood to promote South African talent at home and internationally.

DDK produced with Spier Films and Nandos, with backing from the Dept. of Trade and Industry and the South African National Film & Video Foundation.

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