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AFM news briefs

Latest deals in from American Film Market

Hollywood Gang Prods. and financier Endgame Entertainment have joined to produce Sergei Bodrov’s new period epic, “The Silk Road: The Adventures of Marco Polo.”

Based on a treatment by Bodrov, who helmed the 2007 Oscar-nominated “Mongol,” “The Silk Road” follows the life of the 13th century Italian explorer.

Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari (“300”) and Endgame’s James D. Stern (“Brothers Bloom”) will produce.

Endgame will finance the pic’s development and production.

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South Korea’s CJ Entertainment has struck key pre-sales on the two movies that are poised to be the biggest Korean tentpoles of 2009.

It licensed “Oldboy” director Park Chan-wook’s vampire movie “Thirst” to reborn Blighty distributor Palisades Tartan U.K. and Bong Joon-ho’s drama “Mother” to Diaphana for France.

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Both pics are skedded for delivery next spring and are seeking major festival platforms.

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Japan’s Tokyo Broadcasting System has enjoyed strong business in Asia with its Takahisa Zeze-helmed thriller “Pandemic.”

Pic, which is skedded for release in Japan in January, was licensed to Bona Entertainment for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and to J Bics Films for Thailand.

TBS said it expects to close a deal for South Korea shortly after AFM and says it is in advanced discussions with distributors in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Australia, Germany, France and Latin America.

Disaster pic, which stars Satoshi Tsumabuki and Rei Dan, concerns a killer virus that sweeps Japan.

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Japanese distributor Only Hearts has acquired “Call Girl,” a sexy thriller helmed by Antonio-Pedro Vasconselos. Portuguese-language pic, which won a trio of Portugal’s Golden Globes, has appeared at festivals including Rio de Janeiro and Montreal. Beyond Films has acquired Australian rights to “9 to 5 — Days in Porn,” a German-language docu about the personal lives of stars, agents and producers in the adult film industry.

Both movies are represented by Cologne-based sales agent Media Luna.

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L.A.-based production, finance and sales company Media 8 concluded a string of deals for “Dali” with MGN/Paradis for Russia, Horizon for Turkey and Revolutionary Releasing for East Europe. “A Film With Me in It” was sold to Russia’s Maywin, Czechoslovakia’s Bonton Film, Portugal’s Lusomundo and Turkey’s Horizon.

“Everybody Wants to Be Italian” was licensed to Eastern Europe’s Forum Film, Australia’s All Interactive, Portugal’s Lusomundo and Turkey’s Horizon.

“American Son” was licensed to Lusomundo for Portugal, “Noelle” licensed to Film Investors for Benelux and “One Night With the King” licensed to Hungary’s RTL and the Czech Republic’s Grandview Castle.

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Execs Cindy Bond and Chevonne O’Shaughnessy announced they will serve as co-prexies of the newly formed Mission Pictures, a company dedicated solely to the production, marketing and worldwide distribution of faith-based features.

The distrib says its first title will be the CG toon “Noah’s Ark: The New Beginning,” featuring the voices of Michael Keaton, Marcia Gay Harden, Rob Schneider and Nicollette Sheridan.

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Independent film company Leonidas Films announced it has secured international markets for its thriller “Blood River,” the latest from helmer-scribe Adam Mason.

MIG Films will handle Germany; Spentzos Films, Greece; Carisma Films, Poland; and New Primedia, South Africa.

Epic Pictures is the international distributor for the pic.

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Paris-based shingle Roissy Films sold documentary Agnes Varda’s autobiographical documentary “Les Plages d’Agnes” to the U.K.’s Artificial Eye.

“Les Plages d’Agnes” preemed at AFM and previously screened at Toronto and Venice.

Roissy’s AFM slate also includes Martin Provost’s “Seraphine” and Francois Rotger’s Locarno screener “Story of Jen.”

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Gallic shingle Bac Films has inked a series of deals at AFM for its animation and arthouse pics.

Horatiu Malaele’s tragic-comedy “Silent Wedding” has been nabbed by New Zealand’s Vendetta Films, Poland’s Syrena Entertainment Group and Brazil’s Imovision.

Bac Films is in advanced discussions on Italy, Spain and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bac Films’ Gallic 3-D animation pic “Jasper” has been nabbed by Korea’s Daisy and India’s Eagle Films.

Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia’s Intersonic has picked up rights to “Jasper,” “Les Lascars” and Danish “Journey to Saturn.”

Locarno Festival’s Variety Piazza Grande winner “Back Soon” was picked up by Italy’s Ripley and Bosnia-Herzegovina’s MCF MegaCom.

French thriller “Melodie Smile” has been nabbed by Mexico’s Nueva Era.

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Gallic shingle Wide Management has inked a 21-title deal with U.A.E-based company Arab Media Group. Documentary “La Vida Loca,” which preemed in San Sebastian; Mika Kaurismaki’s “Three Wise Men,” which screened in Toronto; and Aureus Solito’s “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros” were among the titles nabbed by Arab Media Group.

Wide’s AFM sales slate also includes Michele Rosier’s drama “Ah La Libido” and Asia Argento starrer “Gigola.”

(Compiled by Patrick Frater, Michael Jones, Elsa Keslassy and Andrew Stewart.)

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