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Dealer’s choice

Mart mavens ink pacts as biz perks up

A number of different sales companies have paused enough to add up the deals they’ve done so far in Berlin.

Most are already expressing satisfaction with what they’ve accomplished so far, before they pick up and move on — to either the upcoming Hong Kong market or onwards in May to Cannes.

U.S.-based Shoreline has continued the dealmaking on “The Signal,” a futuristic horror pic that picked up buzz at Sundance. Sales topper Brian Sweet said he had closed France with Studio Canal, Germany with Ascot Elite and Scandinavia with NonStop as of Tuesday.

“It’s been an excellent market for us,” he said. “All of the buyers are here and everything is going smoothly, working out of the Ritz.”

Among the other deals touted by sellers in hotel suites and at the Martin Gropius Bau:

  • Films Distribution has picked up world sales rights on “Red Balloon” — very much a working title — by arthouse darling Hou Hsiao-hsien.

Pic is a move in a radical new direction for the Taiwanese helmer. Hou shot the entire movie in French with Juliette Binoche playing a single mother. Her relationship with her 7-year-old son is under strain as he enters an imaginary world where his best friend is a balloon.

Pic, now in post-production and strongly tipped for a Cannes berth, is produced by Francois Margolin and Kristina Larsen.

  • Russell Crowe starrer “Tenderness” has been picked up by Mediafilm in Italy, Nordisk in Scandinavia and 21st Century in Russia.

GreeneStreet is handling foreign sales on the pic, which will be distributed domestically by Lionsgate.

Pic has also been sold to TV Azteca in Mexico and Alfa in Argentina.

Directed by John Polson, it’s the story of a troubled girl who becomes entangled with a young man with a violent past. Crowe is a cop trying to prove the young man is a serial killer.

n German sales agent Bavaria Film has sold Israel’s “Sweet Mud” to Brazil, Italy, Canada and Taiwan. Bavaria execs also expect to confirm a U.S. pact by the end of the Berlinale. Pic, helmed by Dror Shaul, portrays life on an Israeli kibbutz in the 1970s.

  • Hong Kong’s Universe Films has sold actioner “Invisible Target” to Grand Brilliance for Malaysia, PT Teguh for Indonesia and M Pictures for Thailand.

Pic, which is helmed by Benny Chan and stars Nicholas Tse, Jaycee Chan and Shawn Yu, was previously sold to Poly Bona for China.

  • In a rare pre-sale to South America, Brazil’s Playarte bought suspenser “The Photo” by Oxide Pang, and “Darling Lover,” a horror romance by Danny Pang. Both films are produced by the two brothers.

  • Korea’s Studio 2.0 has licensed its unusual adult animation “Aachi & Ssipak” to France’s StudioCanal. Pic, which unspooled last month at Rotterdam, is set in a world where human excrement is a scarce and valuable resource. Pre-sales went to Russia’s Alpha Motion, Israel’s Dream Entertainment and Italy’s AB Film.

  • Taiwan’s Three Dots Entertainment added a sale to Hong Kong’s Deltamac to its list of deals on Chinese-language lesbian drama “Spider Lilies.”

  • German sales agent Media Luna has picked up world rights to “Bog of Beasts” (Baixo des Bestas), a Brazilian shocker that was a prize-winner at Rotterdam. Pic, a drama about an unsophisticated woman’s descent into the big city underworld, features graphic violence and equally graphic sex.  

  • Germany’s Match Factory sold Christian Petzold’s competition pic “Yella” to Switzerland’s Frenetic ahead of its official screening Wednesday.

  • Latido continues to roll out Carlos Saura’s “Fados,” having closed with Europa Filmes for Brazil. Firm offers are in for Italy, Benelux and France, Latido topper Massimo Saidel said, adding that he would close Japan on “De Profundis.”

Latido sold “Galindez” to Brazil’s Daylight, and clinched a Spanish deal for “Sonar no cuesta nada” with Eurocine. “Sonar” has also licensed to Colombia’s Cineplex.

Discovery, in the former Yugoslavia, has taken the Latido-sold “Heaven’s Doors,” the Moroccan Panorama player at Berlin last year.

“After this we’ll go on a road trip,” Saidel said. “The market’s now all year round.”

(Adam Dawtrey and John Hopewell contributed to this report.)

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