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Eye of Films Selects ‘Plot for Peace’

Distribution initiative pacts with Fresh Film Fest

LOCARNO — Eye on Films, a global network of 40 distributors and 47 festivals, has just made its latest acquisition: the Wide House-sold Nelson Mandela-themed “Plot for Peace.”

Directed by Carlos Agullo and Mandy Jacobson, the  documentary thriller narrates the untold story of apartheid’s fall, framing Nelson Mandela’s release from jail as the titular plot for peace. The architects of Mandela’s liberation included African frontline states, plus a mysterious French businessman, dubbed “Monsieur Jacques” in classified correspondence.

Producer-director Jacobson exec produced HBO/Cinemax’s double Emmy Award-winning “Calling the Ghosts: A Film About Rape, War and Women in Bosnia.” With Bill Moyers’ team, she won a Peabody for PBS feature “Facing the Truth.”

Jacobson’s An African Oral History and Indelible Media produce” Plot.” Its editor, Spaniard Agullo, edited key recent Spanish films such as “Planet 51” and “Crematorium,” a pioneering Spanish pay TV drama.  “Plot won the Documentary Award at Ireland’s Galway Film Fleadh.

“Plot’s” pick-up comes as EoF has signed up another Festival to its support scheme, Prague’s student fest event Fresh Film Fest, which has created Fresh Artcam, a VOD day-and-date student film joint venture with Czech indie distrib Artcam.

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Channeling support from Media Mundus, the E.U. film-TV support program, EoF supplies up to 50% funding for both European first and second films’ theatrical P & A and festival promotion in and outside of Europe and that of movies by new Non-European directors in Europe, said EoF project co-ordinator Nawid Sarem.

Europe remains the heartland of the arthouse biz. 50%-60% of EoF distributors are based there, Salem said. “Currently, we have better results with the distribution of non-European films in Europe, than films handled by non-European distributors which have more difficulties in accessing subsidies,” said Sarem.

But two factors could drive larger mid-term growth for EoF outside Europe: Swelling middle-class audiences, parts of which may be more avid for art films; the emergence of a new generation of film distributors willing to work at slimmer profit margins.

Launched 2011, EoF, whose partners already include Chile’s Gitano Films, is in talks with other distributors outside Europe, where EoF funding can have far larger leverage, for them to join the network, Sarem said.

Sarem also signaled that EoF intended to work more with new media, including social networks.

EoF’s biggest hits include Nadav Lapid’s “Policeman,” a 2011 Locarno jury prize winner, which sold seven territories and grossed over 30,000 admissions for Bodega Films in France, per Sarem.

Eye on Films will hold a networking brunch Monday at Locarno.

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