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Fortissimo pacts on sales with Fox Intl. Prods

Distrib will handle local-language pics

In a landmark deal made on the eve of the Cannes fest, Fortissimo Films has teamed with Fox Intl. Prods. to handle sales on local FIP productions in some territories.

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

Although the studio has a well-oiled international distribution network, Fox’s local offices 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 ensure that local product gets the best marketing and release.

First two titles under the agreement are Italian mobster pic “Vallanzasca,” which Fortissimo will handle outside Italy, France, Germany and Scandinavia; and Russian pic “Alien Girl,” which it will handle in all territories except Russia.

The multipicture relationship fuses the independent sales agent with a major U.S. studio. Fox Intl. Prods. prexy Sanford Panitch and Fortissimo chairman Michael J. Werner inked the pact.

“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 said deal would bring “more commercial” local-language films to the Fortissimo slate.

Vallanzasca,” directed by Michele Placido, boasts an international cast including Italy’s Kim Rossi Stuart, Spain’s Paz Vega and Germany’s Moritz Bleibtreu. It is the first Italian-lingo project ushered through FIP.

(Pamela McClintock contributed to this report.)

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