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Italy has a new theatrical distribution player, Rome-based Fenix Entertainment, which, undeterred by coronavirus concerns, has announced its first acquisition of an international title, French actor-auteur Maïwenn’s drama “DNA,” which the company plans to release in Italian theaters by year’s end.

Netflix recently picked up English-language rights in several territories – including U.K. and North America – for “DNA,” which is Maïwenn’s sixth feature and is being sold globally by Wild Bunch International.

In “DNA” (which is the film’s English-language title) Maïwenn stars as a divorced mother of three who maintains a close connection to her Algerian grandfather, visiting him regularly in a nursing home. The well-received pic, which also stars Fanny Ardant and Louis Garrel, was part of this year’s Cannes 2020 selection, and more recently screened at the Deauville and San Sebastian film fests.

France’s Le Pacte is scheduled to release “DNA,” which is titled “ADN” in France, in French cinemas on Oct. 28.

Fenix Entertainment Head of Theatrical Antonio Adinolfi – who is a veteran exec who previously worked for Italy’s Eagle Pictures and also Videa – said the company was “confident of a return to theatrical” on the part of Italian audiences after the coronavirus crisis.

Proof of the company’s upbeat spirit is Fenix’s first theatrical outing on Oct. 1 on 230 Italian screens of Italian comedy “Burraco Fatale,” starring a mostly female cast comprising top talents Claudia Gerini, Angela Finocchiaro and Caterina Guzzanti, which Fenix co-produced with RAI Cinema.

The company’s next release will be Italian noir “Dietro la Notte,” also co-produced with RAI Cinema, which they plan to launch in Italian cinemas “either end of October or early November,” said Adinolfi. That release will be followed by Maïwenn’s latest drama, which will be re-titled for Italy, and for which Fenix is eyeing a release date in either November or December 2020, barring complications, Adinolfi said.

Meanwhile shooting is underway on a Fenix-produced heist comedy titled “Ostaggi” (Hostages), directed by first-timer Eleonora Ivone, starring Gianmarco Tognazzi and Vanessa Incontrada, which the company plans to release locally in 2021.

Founded as a small production company in 2016, Fenix was floated on the Milan bourse in April 2020. Adinolfi subsequently came on board in August to expand operations.

The company is negotiating other acquisitions of international titles and plans to close a couple of deals during the upcoming online edition of the American Film Market.

Going forward Fenix will be attending all major markets “looking to buy international product for theatrical release,” said Adinolfi. He added that on the production side they are also seeking co-production partners as their output of feature films becomes more geared toward the international market.