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Berlin Berlin ® DAILY DAY 6 TUESD A Y , FEBRUARY 12, 2013 DAILY BERLIN’S BIG BANG THEORY Probst satisfied By Ed Meza Moving into its fifth day, the European Film Market is bustling with business for big-budget pics and mart top-per Beki Probst is happily sat-isfied with this year’s turnout. “We have an upward trend with more companies, more films and more buyers here at the Martin Gropius Bau and at the Marriot — both places have been very busy,” said Probst. “People have been taking a lot of See PROBST page 14 Many smaller titles left out of dealmaking frenzy By John Hopewell and Dave McNary The European Film Market fo-cused its most robust business on a small number of relatively big films. Beyond that , trading was often desultory. Deals that did go down under-score just how radically Berlin has recently evolved, though its roots are still intact . “It’s only really been in the last three or four years that Berlin be-came an event at which big movies are sold,” said Focus Films Intl.’s topper Alison Thompson. “ People are getting used to Ber-lin being a key marketplace,” agreed FilmNation honcho Glen Basner. In one of the biggest single EFM sales in years, the Weinstein Co. bought U.S. rights to “Blood Sis-ters,” committing upwards of $30 million on its U.S. P&A, per sources. Film is being sold by IM Global. Drawing on Richelle Mead’s “Vampire Academy” bestsellers, and starring Zoey Deutch and Mark Walters, “Blood Sisters” marks Harvey Weinstein’s first acquisition of a big commercial franchise property. “The very introduction of the Academy Award guru to a teen franchise immediately starts to po-sition it with a broader aspiration, something a little different,” said IM Global’s Stuart Ford, who also exec See MARKET page 14 Deals at the European Film Market underscored Berlin’s growing stature as an event where high-profile pics like “Blood Sisters” are sold. IN COMPETITION Child’s Pose (Pozitia copilului) (Romania) Hit pics boost Italo region’s fund By Nick Vivarelli ROME Sean Gallup/Getty Images Luminita Gheorghiu in “Child’s Pose” Two years after its launch, Italy’s Business Location South Tyrol — Alto Adige (BLS) film fund is at the EFM basking in the glow of Gi-useppe Tornatore’s hit artworld mys-tery “The Best Offer” and a slew of Italo and German productions in various stages that it has backed. Tornatore’s English-language “Best Offer,” which unspools today as a Berlinale Special Gala, was mostly shot in the autonomous Alpine province at Italy’s northern point, which is now flourishing on the central European film map. Pic has scored north of $10 mil-lion in Italy via Warner Bros. since its January release. BLS has a generous German-model funding system that allowed “Offer” to tap into nearly $1 million. Cameras are rolling in the re-gion’s Val Senales valley on 1875-set “Das finstere Tal,” dubbed an “Alpine ‘Django,’ ” helmed by Aus-tria’s Andreas Prochaska (“Dead in 3 Days”) starring Sam Riley (“On the Road”) and Tobias Moretti, produced by Austria’s Allegro in co-production See BLS page 15 A STRIKING ‘POSE’ By Jay Weissberg N oted scripter Razvan Radulescu delivers his strongest screenplay for some time with “Child’s Pose,” Calin Peter Netzer’s dissection of monstrous motherly love. It’s also a razor-sharp jibe at Romania’s nouveau riche (the type is hardly confined to one country), a class adept at massaging truths and ensuring that the world steps aside when conflict arises. Sharp, multilayered dialogue and expectedly canny performances are strong enough to overcome the over-active, judgmental lensing. Though the English title lacks meaning, the pic should pose no problem finding room on fest bills and in Romanian showcases. Turn to page 15 International sales, however, will be limited. ‘Malavita’ sales are going global By Elsa Keslassy “Malavita,” the first collabo-ration between Luc Besson and Martin Scorsese, is set to travel worldwide. The Robert De Niro starrer, repped by both EuropaCorp and Relativity, sold to Germany (Uni-versum), Spain (Tripictures), Italy See EUROPACORP page 15 Dominik bindl/Getty Images “Before Midnight’s” Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater and Julie Delpy meet the Berlin press in advance of the film’s fest bow.

Berlin’s Big Bang Theory

John Hopewell And Dave McNary

Many smaller titles left out of dealmaking frenzy<br /> <br /> The European Film Market focused its most robust business on a small number of relatively big films.<br /> <br /> Beyond that , trading was often desultory.<br /> <br /> Deals that did go down underscore just how radically Berlin has recently evolved, though its roots are still intact .<br /> <br /> “It’s only really been in the last three or four years that Berlin became an event at which big movies are sold,” said Focus Films Intl.’s topper Alison Thompson.<br /> <br /> “ People are getting used to Berlin being a key marketplace,” agreed FilmNation honcho Glen Basner.<br /> <br /> In one of the biggest single EFM sales in years, the Weinstein Co. Bought U.S. rights to “Blood Sisters,” committing upwards of $30 million on its U.S. P&A, per sources. Film is being sold by I'm Global.<br /> <br /> Drawing on Richelle Mead’s “Vampire Academy” bestsellers, and starring Zoey Deutch and Mark Walters, “Blood Sisters” marks Harvey Weinstein’s first acquisition of a big commercial franchise property.<br /> <br /> “The very introduction of the Academy Award guru to a teen franchise immediately starts to position it with a broader aspiration, something a little different,” said I'm Global’s Stuart Ford, who also exec produces “Sisters.” <br /> <br /> Other higher-rollers also gambled at Berlin.<br /> <br /> On the three new titles FilmNation introduced at Berlin — the untitled Hugh Grant-Marisa Tomei romantic comedy, “Solace” and “The Imitation Game” — most territories, key and smaller, will be pre-sold at Berlin, said Basner.<br /> <br /> Focus Features Intl. Briskly sold out most of the world on Jeremy Renner starrer “Kill the Messenger.” <br /> <br /> Studiocanal concluded sales on the Coen brothers “Inside Llewyn Davis,” closing Italy with Lucky Red, and initiated them on its John Le Carre adaptation “Our Kind of Traitor” and sold “Two Faces of January” to Russia (West).<br /> <br /> “It felt like a slow start with not so many big movies announced here and buyers taking their time,” said Studiocanal topper Harold van Lier. “But by Sunday morning we were in full swing and what followed were two days of intense dealmaking and closing. It will make for a great market, with a very promising start on our new films, notably ‘Our Kind of Traitor.’ ” <br /> <br /> Mister Smith sold “Love, Rosie” to about 30 countries, and counting.<br /> <br /> The Exchange’s Brian O’Shea used momentum from Sundance to close multiple sales on “Spectacular Now,” and, he added, due to the worldwide success of youth-skewing “Pitch Perfect” and the anticipation of the upcoming release of Richard LaGravenese’s young-witches drama “Beautiful Creatures,” buyers’ interest in LaGravenese’s Anna Kendrick starrer “The Last 5 Years” has been very high and “we closed a number of deals.” <br /> <br /> Berlin’s biz underlined the indie biz’s steady march towards the mainstream.<br /> <br /> “Almost universally, broadcasters have become more selective as to the volume and the commerciality of the films that they’re buying,” Ford said. “That inevitably means independent distributors are gravitating towards more commercial English-language films.” <br /> <br /> It also underscored a new indie sector film financing and sales energy bubbling up in the U.S. <br /> <br /> “The increasingly meaningful U.S. VOD market and individual movies’ success — think ‘The King’s Speech’ — is stoking investor confidence,” Thompson said.<br /> <br /> Christopher Woodrow, founder of production and financier shingle Worldview Entertainment, notes, “If the (U.S.) economy is doing better, you see that filtering to the film business. From our perspective, the (U.S.) economy is getting better, the stock market’s better, everything’s better all around.” <br /> <br /> With Berlin business, as at the AFM, arthouse titles tended to get overlooked.<br /> <br /> Foreign distributors’ Berlin buys of big pics left them little money to buy artpic or crossover fare, one sales agent lamented.<br /> <br /> There were art-pic and foreign-language breakouts, however. Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight” quietly sold all over after its Sundance bow and before its out-of-competish screening at Berlin. Buyers included Germany’s Prokino, France’s Diaphana, eOne in Australia and Sony for the U.K. <br /> <br /> Germany’s Beta looks set to announce a swathe of sales on Berlin comedy and arthouse hit “Oh Boy.” Chilean dramedy and Berlin competition player “Gloria” “will sell all over,” said Peter Danner at Funny Balloons. Pic played to great reviews in competition.<br /> <br /> TrustNordisk’s “NorthWest,” EuropaCorp’s “IT Boy” and “Mobius,” and Gaumont’s “Belle and Sebastian” all sold well.<br /> <br /> But most sales story was written by the small clutch of Englishlanguage titles. Said one seller: “A few indie movies are doing very well, a lot of indie movies are not doing very well.”<br />

Probst Satisfied

Ed Meza

Moving into its fifth day, the European Film Market is bustling with business for big-budget pics and mart topper Beki Probst is happily satisfied with this year’s turnout.<br /> <br /> “We have an upward trend with more companies, more films and more buyers here at the Martin Gropius Bau and at the Marriot — both places have been very busy,” said Probst. “People have been taking a lot of meetings, and for me a lot of meetings means there’s business going on.” <br /> <br /> Probst, who also heads the Probst-Kinobetriebe exhibition group in Switzerland, pointed to the huge interest in Sebastian Lelio’s competition title “Gloria” among Swiss buyers as an example: “A Swiss distributor told me as soon as the screening of ‘Gloria’ was finished there were four Swiss distributors running to Funny Balloons to close a deal for the film. In the end, Film Copy got it.” <br /> <br /> While European arthouse fare largely remains at the heart of the EFM, Probst admits that the event is expanding and changing.<br /> <br /> “The market is growing, and growing means that also other companies are coming, companies that weren’t here in the beginning, like Lionsgate and Sierra/Affinity. Those companies were not with us a few years back,” she noted adding that they are bringing biggerbudget, more commercial films to the market. “We were very arthouse and now we can say (the EFM) offers more choices.” <br /> <br /> Despite the growth, Probst is not worried about the EFM losing its identity, stressing that most of the films screening in the Berlin fest’s various sections are offered at the market and provide its real weight.<br /> <br /> While everything is running smoothly, Probst said people are already asking about next year.<br /> <br /> “ I hate to think about next year, but this means that there is interest here. We’re alive and kicking.”<br />

A Striking 'Pose'

Jay Weissberg

IN COMPETITION<br /> <br /> Child’s Pose (Pozitia copilului) (Romania)<br /> <br /> Noted scripter Razvan Radulescu delivers his strongest screenplay for some time with “Child’s Pose,” Calin Peter Netzer’s dissection of monstrous motherly love. It’s also a razor-sharp jibe at Romania’s nouveau riche (the type is hardly confined to one country), a class adept at massaging truths and ensuring that the world steps aside when conflict arises. Sharp, multilayered dialogue and expectedly canny performances are strong enough to overcome the over-active, judgmental lensing. Though the English title lacks meaning, the pic should pose no problem finding room on fest bills and in Romanian showcases. International sales, however, will be limited.<br /> <br /> Andrei Butica’s nervous camera takes in everything about sophisticated matron Cornelia (Luminita Gheorghiu, in her first starring role): her dyed blonde hair, her entitled physicality, the glass of whisky in her hand; at her birthday party, the lensing registers her black dress (though not an immodest cut) and high heels (though not so high). The forced scrutiny is hardly needed, since it’s clear who Cornelia is, thanks to Gheorghiu’s look and bearing: a well-off member of that class that made their riches in the postcommunist era and still behave as if they’re the party elite.<br /> <br /> In this sense, the way she manipulates her family is hardly different from the way she manipulates the world. Her doctor husband Aurelian (Florin Zamfirescu) has no hope of emerging from the background, especially as their son Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache) is the only man she cares about. Maybe that’s because she’s lost control of him: He’s in a relationship with Carmen (Ilinca Goia), of whom Cornelia strongly disapproves, but then, what woman would be right for her boy?<br /> <br /> The dynamics change (or rather, revert to what they were) when Barbu gets behind the wheel and kills a boy, 14, while passing another car on the freeway. Mommy and her friend Olga (Natasa Raab) race to the police station in their fur coats, where a strung-out Barbu is being held by less-than-sympathetic cops. Cornelia is in her element, bullying her way in and sizing up each character, ensuring they know she has connections. She’s already called her husband so he can use his influence with the medical examiner to fudge potentially bothersome alcohol-level results.<br /> <br /> When Barbu’s released, of course he comes home to Mommy, not his own house (likely paid for by his parents anyway). There’s a marvelous scene when Cornelia goes to her son’s place to bring back clothes, snooping about and picking up (obviously neveropened) books she bought to improve his mind.<br /> <br /> Much remains for her to do. Mr. Laurentiu (Vlad Ivanov), the driver Barbu passed just before the accident, wants hush money. The parents of the dead boy need to be visited to see whether they’ll press charges. Meanwhile, Barbu, boiling with anger yet emasculated and infantilized, watches his mother’s orchestration of events with growing resentment.<br /> <br /> Radulescu (credited with Netzer for the screenplay) has presented controlling mothers before, notably in “First of All, Felicia,” but here he’s really captured the domineering nature of the breed, rendering Cornelia as a complete figure rather than simply a onedimensional harridan.<br /> <br /> As usual, the scribe has added small touches, like Barbu’s germophobia, to intensify character, and even the scene in which Carmen tells Cornelia about her son’s sexual problems, though unlikely given Carmen’s justifiable wariness, is believable thanks to the intelligent dialogue and superb acting from both parties. And while the script’s structure can feel too much like a template, the final scene of Cornelia’s tour-de-force performance (she’s always performing) plays out in an expertly written monologue revealing her skillful navigation of a mendacious sea.<br /> <br /> “Child’s Pose” is a tighter film than Netzer’s previous “Medal of Honor,” and the helmer seems to have benefited from his collaboration with Radulescu. Like many of his compatriots, the director has an excellent hand in guiding actors; ironically, high viewer expectation means Gheorghiu’s terrific work is almost taken for granted.<br /> <br /> Unfortunately, the lensing proves as much of a busybody as Cornelia herself, inquisitively looking at everything with a disapproving air that says nothing about these people or their situation. Rather than a fly on the wall, the camera behaves like a fly in the air, only occasionally settling down long enough to devote full attention to the characters.<br /> <br /> CREDITS: A Parada Film, Hai-Hui Entertainment production, with the participation of HBO Romania. (International sales: Beta Film, Munich.) Produced by Ada Solomon. Co-producer, Oana Giurgiu.<br /> <br /> Directed by Calin Peter Netzer. Screenplay, Razvan Radulescu, Netzer. Camera (color), HD, Andrei Butica; editor, Dana Lucretia Bunescu; production designer, Malina Ionescu; costume designer, Irina Marinescu; sound (Dolby Digital), Cristian Tarnovetchi; sound designer, Dana Lucretia Bunescu; line producer, Valentino Rudolf; assistant director, Oana Igrisan. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (competing), Feb. 11, 2013. Running time: 112 MIN. With: Luminita Gheorghiu, Bogdan Dumitrache, Ilinca Goia, Natasa Raab, Florin Zamfirescu, Vlad Ivanov, Ada Solomon.<br />

Hit Pics Boost Italo Region’s Fund

Nick Vivarelli

Two years after its launch, Italy’s Business Location South Tyrol — Alto Adige (BLS) film fund is at the EFM basking in the glow of Giuseppe Tornatore’s hit artworld mystery “The Best Offer” and a slew of Italo and German productions in various stages that it has backed.<br /> <br /> Tornatore’s English-language “Best Offer,” which unspools today as a Berlinale Special Gala, was mostly shot in the autonomous Alpine province at Italy’s northern point, which is now flourishing on the central European film map.<br /> <br /> Pic has scored north of $10 million in Italy via Warner Bros. Since its January release.<br /> <br /> BLS has a generous Germanmodel funding system that allowed “Offer” to tap into nearly $1 million.<br /> <br /> Cameras are rolling in the region’s Val Senales valley on 1875- set “Das finstere Tal,” dubbed an “Alpine ‘Django,’ ” helmed by Austria’s Andreas Prochaska (“Dead in 3 Days”) starring Sam Riley (“On the Road”) and Tobias Moretti, produced by Austria’s Allegro in co-production with Berlin-based X Film Creative Pool.<br /> <br /> “It doesn’t happen every day that you get a director like Tornatore shooting in your territory,” said BLS topper Christiana Wertz, who is particularly proud that “Best Offer” used interiors in Bolzano, South Tyrol’s capital, besides postcard Alpine settings.<br /> <br /> “Promoting our territory is actually not that important for us,” she said, adding that what’s key was the amount of money and time spent in the territory and fostering the local industry’s talent and infrastructure.<br /> <br /> BLS hands out €5 million ($7 million) yearly with a $2 million cap per project. Producers must reinvest at least 150% of spend locally.<br /> <br /> In just two years BLS has supported 70 projects, including Fandango’s “Diaz — Don’t Clean Up This Blood,” helmed by Daniele Vicari; Austrian helmer Ernst Gossner’s “Monte Piano” from Austria’s Sigma; and Cattleya’s upcoming comedy “Il principe abusivo” by Alessandro Siani.<br />

‘Malavita’ Sales Are Going Global

Elsa Keslassy

“Malavita,” the first collaboration between Luc Besson and Martin Scorsese, is set to travel worldwide.<br /> <br /> The Robert De Niro starrer, repped by both EuropaCorp and Relativity, sold to Germany (Universum), Spain (Tripictures), Italy (Eagle), Russia (MG Paradise), China (Fundamental), Japan (BMS,) the U.K. and Canada (eOne), Latin America (Swen), Scandinavia (Scanbox) and Benelux (Belga).<br /> <br /> “ ‘Malavita’ has attracted tremendous enthusiasm from buyers since we started shopping the project at Cannes,” said Europa- Corp’s international sales chief Marie-Laure Montironi. “We and Relativity have pre-sold ‘Malavita’ worldwide based on the pitch, photos of the shoots and the names of Besson and De Niro, which is quite exceptional.” <br /> <br /> The Besson-helmed organizedcrime pic stars De Niro as a retired mob boss who relocates to France’s Normandy with his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and teenage daughter (Dianna Agron) as part of the witness protection program, but he gets caught up in old habits.<br /> <br /> Tommy Lee Jones also stars.<br /> <br /> EuropaCorp also closed boffo deals on “Mobius” and “It Boy,” two French-language films that had market premieres at the EFM, a few weeks ahead of their Gallic rollouts. “Mobius,” a Monaco-set spy thriller toplining “The Artist” star Jean Dujardin, has sold to Switzerland (Praessens), Scandinavia (Scanbox), Greece (Videorama), CIS (Paradise), Israel (Forum), South Korea (Entermode) and the Middle East (Gulf). Pic has received “strong interests from English speaking territories: Australia, the U.K., the U.S.,” said Montironi.<br /> <br /> Eric Rochant’s thriller “Mobius” will open in France on Feb. 27 and is Dujardin’s first role since “The Artist.” Tim Roth also stars.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, “It Boy,” a highconcept romantic comedy, stars two Gallic up-and-comers: Pierre Niney and Virginie Efira.<br /> <br /> Sales include Belgium (Victory), Germany (Universum), South Korea (Pancinema), Canada (eOne), CIS (Volga), Czech Republic (AQS), Latin America (Swen), Turkey (Calinos), Hungary (MTVA) and Thailand (DNA). Montironi is fielding offers for Italy and Spain.<br /> <br /> Efira stars as a beautiful, uptight femme journo who starts dating a younger hipster to vamp up her image and get promotion.<br />

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