Italo pic deals proliferate at Venice

Local distributors move in for pick ups ahead of Toronto

France’s Funny Balloons has sold Pablo Larrain’s Venice competition player “Post Mortem” to Archibald Films in Italy, while Gaul’s Pyramide Intl. has licensed Venice Critics’ Week player “Naomi” to Italy’s Bolero Films.

Deals add to a growing bevy of Italian licensing pacts announced at Venice.

In the first day of trading, Andrea Occhipinti’s Lucky Red distrib revealed it had taken Italian rights to Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete.”

Lucky Red later acquired Italian rights to Canadian Denis Villeneuve’s “Incendies,” a Venice Days standout.

Nanni Moretti’s Sacher Film took Critics’ Week screener “Angele et Tony,” sold by Pyramide.

The buoyant sales reflect a question of practicality. Unlike their colleagues in other countries, all Italian distributors attend Venice, so sales agents don’t have to wait until the Toronto Film Festival, which starts on Thursday, to see if other distributors will improve on offers already on the table.

“Post Mortem,” which preemed on Sunday, is a Venice competition favorite among Italo and international scribes.

Pic sets a doomed love story between a morgue worker and a dancer against the backdrop of Chile’s 1973 military coup, lead by Augusto Pinochet, which toppled President Salvador Allende.

“Post Mortem” is Larrain’s follow-up to “Tony Manero,” about a man obsessed with John Travolta’s character in “Saturday Night Fever” — that pic sold to 20 territories.

Funny Balloons’ Peter Danner describes the two films as companion pieces.

” ‘Post Mortem’ is a very different and autonomous film, but set during the same time in Chile — Pinochet’s coup,” he said, adding that

Funny Balloons will arrange private screenings for “Post Mortem” at Toronto.

Meanwhile, Eitan Zur’s first feature, “Naomi,” pre-sold to Canada’s eOne Entertainment and has sold at Venice to Switzerland’s Cineworx.

Beyond Italy, “Germany, Benelux and Switzerland are the countries that send most distributors to Venice and where you make most deals,” said Pyramide Intl.’s Yoann Ubermulhin.

Pyramide will release “Naomi” in France in April; United King will handle distribution in Israel.