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Fortissimo Returns to Indie Sales Business With China’s ‘Wrath of Silence’

Chinese drama “Wrath of Silence” has been picked up for world sales by Fortissimo Films. It is the first pickup of a new title since the famous sales company slid into bankruptcy last year.

Directed by Xin Yukun, who previously made “The Coffin in the Mountain,” the picture is set to be the closing night film at the First Film Festival in Xining later this month (July 21-30). The film is an art-house suspense thriller in which two children go missing and coal-hungry corporations stake out a limited number of remaining plots.

Operating for more than 20 years, with bases in Amsterdam and Hong Kong, Fortissimo pioneered the introduction of Asian art-house and independent cinema to international festivals and international distributors. It filed for bankruptcy late last year, then was acquired from Dutch administrators in February by Chinese company Hehe Pictures.

“This is a first step, but I am particularly pleased to be able to make that first step with a film that represents the core of what Fortissimo was originally known for. It feels like the right step,” said Gabrielle Rozing, Fortissimo general manager. “Fortissimo has always championed young Asian filmmakers, and we are very proud to build on the company’s legacy by discovering new Chinese auteurs like Yukun. We are looking forward to taking [“Wrath”] to the fall festivals and beyond,”

Rozing, her team and the Chinese partners have spent several months straightening out the business, but were not ready in time for Cannes. Former chairman, Michael J Werner is no longer involved.

Under Rozing, Fortissimo expects to handle four or five new titles per year. She is also negotiating with producers of some of the old Fortissimo’s catalog titles about renewing with the new structure.

The company expects to attend the major film markets and festivals, notably Cannes and Berlin. But it will not be present at the American Film Market this year.

“The sales agency business is a difficult one. We don’t want to overspend,” said Rozing. “I’d like us to be characterized by modesty and action.”

“These characters represent actual people in contemporary China,” Xin said in a statement. “They come from various social backgrounds, pursuing their own interests and ignoring each other’s lives. This is the crux of China’s current social fabric. When society as a whole is sick, no one can be immune from it.”

The film stars Jiang Wu (“A Touch of Sin”) and martial arts maestro Song Yang (“The Grandmaster”). It was produced by Bingchi (Shanghai) Pictures Co. and presented by Bingchi (Shanghai) Pictures, Hehe (Shanghai) Pictures, Khorgos Hehe Pictures, Beijing Taihe Zeruo Culture Investment and Khorgos Taihe Digital Entertainment Cultural Development Co.

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