‘Year of the Snake’ charms Celluloid Dreams

Panahi's shingle takes international rights

Hengameh Panahi’s Celluloid Dreams has acquired international rights to “The Year of the Snake,” a political action-thriller written and directed by Germany’s Dennis Gansel (“The Wave”).

Produced by UFA Cinema, “Snake” will be distributed by Universal Pictures Intl. in German-speaking territories. It marks Gansel’s first English-language film.

Also sold internationally by Celluloid Dreams, Gansel’s vampire love story, “We Are the Night,” proved one of the most buzzed-about titles at the American Film Market, going to all major territories.

Budgeted at €7 million ($9.5 million), “Snake,” which rolled Nov. 28, is the story of a journalist entangled in the machinations

of the Russian secret service as he researches a terrorist plot in Moscow. Celluloid Dreams hopes to sell “Night” in seven or eight more smaller territories at Berlin as it introduces “Snake” to buyers, Panahi said.

“Gansel is one of the most efficient European directors right now because he knows about not only characterization but also rhythm,” Panahi said.

Celluloid Dreams also has taken international sales rights on “Another Kind of Silence,” a France-Argentina-Canada co-production from Santiago Amigorena, lead-produced by Laurent Lavole and starring Maria Josee Croze as a police officer traveling to Argentina to track down her family’s murderer.

“Night” has presold to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Greece, Russia, the U.S., Latin America, Canada, U.K., South Korea, Israel and Middle East, Panahi said.

Celluloid Dream’s acquisitions come as Blue Lake Entertainment Fund — the financing vehicle of Doug Mankoff’s Echo Lake Entertainment and Canadian financer-producer Blue Ice Entertainment — announced it is teaming with the company on a slate of speciality films from proven directors.

The strategic alliance, financing films that Celluloid Dreams can sell and/or produce, will allow Panahi to spend less time sourcing financing for minimum guarantees and allow her to move more quickly on titles, she said. “Less is more,” Panahi said. “We want to be selective and be there with money for producers and have time to do things properly, matching directors and projects and finding better projects that fit market tastes.”