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Berlinale: Armando Iannucci’s ‘Stalin’ Proves a Hot EFM Title for Gaumont (EXCLUSIVE)

On top of selling to IFC Films for North America rights, Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” has pre-sold to several other territories at the EFM, where Gaumont is shopping the pic.

Gaumont has inked pre-sales for Switzerland (Ascot Elite), Poland (Kinoswiat), Greece and Romania (Odeon), Israel (Lev films), former Yugoslavia (MCF Megacom), Baltics (Latvian Theatrical Distribution). Previous sales were closed with Madman in Australia and Concorde in Germany.

Gaumont is in negotiations to close deals for the U.K., Latin America, Hungary, CIS, and Portugal.

The sale to IFC Films followed a bidding war that involved several distributors, including A24 and The Orchard, according to insiders.

Adapted from the French graphic novel by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin, “The Death of Stalin” is a comic look at how Joseph Stalin’s stroke in 1953 threw the USSR into chaos and inspired a mad power grab among his top advisers.

Iannucci, who earned critical acclaim for “In the Loop,” “Veep,” and “The Thick of It,” wrote the screenplay of “Death of Stalin” with David Schneider and Ian Martin with additional material by Peter Fellows.

The picture was produced by Main Journey, Yann Zenou and Laurent Zeitoun’s Montreal-based banner (“Ballerina”) and Quad Films (“The Intouchables”), the Paris-based outfit ran by  Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky, Zenou and Zeitoun.

The cast includes Jason Isaacs, Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Rupert Friend, Michael Palin, and Jeffrey Tambor.

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