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Berlinale: Myriad Pictures to Sell ‘Red Dog: True Blue’ at European Film Market (EXCLUSIVE)

Well-reviewed at Sundance, prequel is made by the original’s creative team

Myriad Pictures will handle worldwide sales, excluding Australia/New Zealand, China and the U.S., on “Red Dog: True Blue,” the prequel to 2011 international box office smash hit “Red Dog.”

Myriad will introduce the family film to buyers at the upcoming Berlin European Film Market.

Reuniting the creative team behind the original “Red Dog”  – writer Daniel Taplitz (“Chaos Theory”), producer Nelson Woss (“Ned Kelly”) and director Kriv Stenders (“Kill Me Three Times”) –  “Red Dog: True Blue” had its U.S. premiere at the Sundance Festival. It will now screen Friday as the opening film at the Berlin International Film Festival’s Generation Kplus, one of the two sections at the world’s biggest fest focus for children, youth and family movies.

“Red Dog: True Blue” was greeted enthusiastically by critics in its Australian homeland, where it has grossed more than $5 million to date, a solid result. It also received an upbeat reaction at Sundance, where Variety’s reviewer described it as a “cheerfully calculated origin story for the canine icon.”

Starring Levi Miller (“A Wrinkle in Time,” “Pan”), Jason Isaacs (the “Harry Potter” franchise) and veteran Aussie actor Bryan Brown  (“Australia,” “Cocktail”), “Red Dog: True Blue” is inspired by the Australian legend of a real-life dog that wandered around Western Australia in the 1970s befriending people. Such was its impact that a statue was erected to it in the town of Dampier.

Set in the late 1960s, the origin tale turns on young Mick (Millar) who, after his father dies and mother is institutionalized, is sent to live with his grandfather (Brown) at a cattle station in the vast Pilbara outback in the northern part of Western Australia. After a cyclone, the boy finds a Kelpie puppy caked with blue paint stranded up a tree. The two misfits, dog and young boy, become inseparable.

The original “Red Dog,” released in Australia in 2011 by the film’s producer, Roadshow, became its own industry legend, earning more than $21 million at the box office and winning the best picture prize at the inaugural Australian Academy of Cinema and TV Arts awards, in 2012. Myriad Pictures handled worldwide sales on the original “Red Dog.”

“We are excited to be working with Nelson Woss and the Village Roadshow team led by Joel Pearlman to bring this epic family film to international distributors,” said Myriad Pictures president Kirk D’Amico.

Myriad’s current sales slate also features Penelope Cruz-starrer “The Queen of Spain,” directed by Spain’s Academy Award-winning Fernando Trueba (“Belle Epoque”), which revisits the characters of “The Girl of My Dreams” 18 years later. Unspooling in a dirt-poor 1950s Spain, “The Queen of Spain” has Cruz’s character, now a Hollywood star, returning to her homeland to shoot a big U.S.-Spain historical epic. “The Queen of Spain” screens at Berlin as a Berlinale Special.

Mark Pellington’s “The Last Word,” a Special Presentation at Sundance, stars Shirley MacLaine as a retired businesswoman who wants to control everything around her, including her own obituary. She hires a young writer (Amanda Seyfried) to write her life story the way she thinks it should be told.

“Heartbeats” is written and directed by Duane Adler, creator of the “Step Up” franchise. It turns on a feisty hip-hop dancer who, in India, falls in love both with a new dance style and the young man who introduces her to it.

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