Fortissimo, Fox team on foreign film sales

Deal marks attempt to crack local-language market

In a landmark deal, Fortissimo Films has teamed with Fox Intl. Prods. to handle sales on a number of local FIP productions in a majority of territories.

Deal is the next evolution in Hollywood’s efforts to crack the local-language market in foreign countries.

Although the studio has a well-oiled international distribution network, Fox offices in local territories are often focused on releasing the studio’s bigger pics. Selling rights to territory distributors can help raise financing for a production, as well as ensuring that local product gets the best marketing and release.

The first two titles under the agreement are the Italian mobster pic “Vallanzsca,” which Fortissimo will handle outside Italy, France, Germany and Scandinavia; and Russian pic “Alien Girl,” which it will handle in all territories except Russia. Fox Intl. Prods. prexy Sanford Panitch has high hopes for both films.

The multi-picture relationship fuses the independent sales agent with a major U.S. studio. Panitch and Fortissimo chairman Michael J. Werner inked the pact, which is sure to be dissected at Cannes.

“Fortissimo’s success in matching local distributors with independent films and Michael’s own familiarity with the kind of studio-level pictures we are developing and producing makes this a perfect fit for both parties, and will prove an incredible benefit to the filmmakers and projects involved,” Panitch said.

Werner added that this would bring “more commercial” local-language films to the Fortissimo slate.

“This deal provides a great combination of experiences, resources and opportunity,” said Werner. “They involve great local producers and great local talent and Fox has a great international distribution effort.”

Vallanzasca,” directed by Michele Placido, boasts an international cast set to include Italy’s Kim Rossi Stuart, Spain’s Paz Vega and Germany’s Moritz Bleibtreu. It is the first Italian-language project ushered through FIP and follows the story of notorious Italian criminal Renato Vallanzasca.

Russian-language “Alien Girl,” based on the novel of the same name from cult author Vladimir “Adolfovich” Nesterenko, is directed by Anton Barmatov. Story follows a Russian underworld figure who sends four hitmen to pick up a Czech woman in hiding, only to have her play them off against each other at the end.

Fortissimo Films has a slew of titles at the market this year, including Ukranian competition title “My Joy” and Singapore’s “Sandcastle,” screening in Critic’s Week.

Pamela McClintock contributed to this report.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Taika Waititi Jojo Rabbit Premiere

    Why Director Taika Waititi Decided to Play Adolf Hitler in 'Jojo Rabbit'

    “Fox Searchlight blackmailed me into doing it,” Taika Waititi told Variety of playing Adolf Hilter in “Jojo Rabbit” at the film’s premiere at American Legion Post 43 on Tuesday night in Hollywood. Staying mum when asked which other actors had been on his wish list to play the role, Waititi explained why he eventually decided [...]

  • Jessica Biel Limetown Premiere

    Why 'Limetown' Star & Producer Jessica Biel Thought the Show Was Based on a True Story

    In a world of increasingly outlandish headlines, the story behind “Limetown” — in which an entire community in rural Tennessee disappears overnight — seems plausible. Even Jessica Biel, who executive produces and stars in the Facebook Watch television adaptation of the hit 2015 podcast, was initially convinced that it was real. “I just thought I [...]

  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Watchmen

    Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Talks 'Watchmen,' 'Matrix 4': 'I'm Not Nervous At All'

    Yahya Adbul-Mateen II is facing some serious pressure. The actor is in the middle of a massive career surge, taking on roles in HBO’s “Watchmen” and the upcoming “Matrix 4” — and with those roles, the expectations of their fans.  “I have the responsibility of upholding something that was already done while also bringing in [...]

  • David Lindelof Watchmen Premiere

    'Watchmen' Creator Damon Lindelof Weighs in on Martin Scorsese's Marvel Criticisms

    Damon Lindelof disagrees with Martin Scorsese about his recent claims that Marvel movies don’t qualify as cinema. The director’s proclamation, along with the polarized critical reception of “Joker,” are the latest salvos in a long history of questioning comic book movies’ place in cinematic history. The lingering question: Can superhero fare be considered “high art?” [...]

  • Anne Hathaway Modern Love

    Anne Hathaway Talks Mental Health Awareness, Playing a Bipolar Woman on Amazon's 'Modern Love'

    In Amazon Prime’s upcoming “Modern Love,” Anne Hathaway sheds light on an important facet of living with mental health issues, playing a bipolar woman who struggles with dating. “We’re all becoming more sensitive, wiser and more cognizant of gentility, and especially emotional gentility. I think those conversations are starting to happen. And I think the desire [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content