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VarietyLA DVFLA020912 : Page 1

BERLIN BERLIN ® DAILY DAY 1 THURSD A Y , FEBRUARY 9, 2012 DAILY ‘Play’ time for Canana By JOHN HOPEWELL Marking its entry into English-language production, Mexican pro-duction-distrib Canana is launch-ing a genre franchise directed by Russia’s enigmatic Makinov. The first film in the franchise, “Child’s Play,” is in post-produc-tion. “Play” stars Vinissa Shaw (“Two Lovers”) and Ebon Moss (“Damages”) as a husband and his pregnant wife who travel to Mexico for some quiet, only to be attacked by maniacal children. Canana is developing an ac-tioner and a thriller with Makinov, said Canana producer Pablo Cruz. The mysterious Makinov is described by Canana as a Rus-sian-American who has lived in Mexico. On set, he wears a mask and a heavy worker jacket called a Makinov. “Through anonymity I can do anything, tackle any genre and not be afraid to fail,” Makinov is quoted as saying. Televisa has all Mexican rights and will release “Play” in Mexico via distrib arm Videocine. Having repped Gerardo Nara-njo’s Canana-produced “Miss Bala,” Fox Intl. Prods. will handle worldwide sales outside Mexico on “Child’s Play,” introducing it to buy-ers at the European Film Market. Canana is run by actor-helm-ers Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna and producer Pablo Cruz. Sean Gallup/Getty Images Terra on journey of ‘Life’ By ED MEZA Terra Mater is continuing its run of documentary event films with “Brazil — A Car-nival of Life,” which prom-ises to take auds on a journey from the Amazon jungle to the country’s vast stretches of coastline and barren des-erts to some of the longest waterfalls in the world. It’s one of two films Terra Mater will unveil at the Eu-ropean Film Market. Sophokles Tasioulis, head of cinema and international theatrical sales at the Vienna-based company, describes the project as a “super blue-chip event natural history docu-mentary” in the vein of BBC Worldwide’s “Earth” and “Deep Blue” (on which Ta-sioulis served as producer). Established last year as a division of Red Bull Media House, Terra Mater special-izes in doc production and distribution for TV, theatrical and multimedia platforms. Currently in production, “Brazil” is scheduled to be de-livered in 2015 as a 90-minute film and a six-part TV series. See TERRA page 29 Cinema fans camped out overnight, waiting for the ticket counter to open on the first day of ticket sales. THE WOMEN’S BOOM Berlin sellers bet on femme-skewing pix By JOHN HOPEWELL and DIANA LODDERHOSE Chick pics, classy crossovers and Gallic comedies look set to drive much of Berlin’s biz in 2012. Summit Intl. arrives with “Beau-tiful Creatures,” a teen fantasy tale of star-crossed love between a boy and girl white witch, drawing on Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia’s book series. Alcon finances, War-ner Bros. distribs Stateside, Richard LaGravenese (“P.S. I Love You”) writes and directs. The international industry ap-pears to have taken good note of “Twilight’s” largely femme auds, bringing a brace of similar projects into the market. Often with high profile or genre elements, they’re as much femme as fanboy fare. Kate Hudson toplines Joe Lynch actioner “Everly,” from Crime Scene Pics (“Gambit”), sold by Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity, with Hudson fending off waves of assas-sins dispatched by her mob-boss ex. Exclusive Media will talk up “Can a Song Save Your Life?” with aspiring singer Scarlett Jo-hansson finding love and a career with Mark Ruffalo. FilmNation introduces Steven Soderbergh’s “Bitter Pill,” with Rooney Mara as a prescription painkiller addict awaiting her hus-band’s jail release. Stuart Ford’s IM Global kicks off human/puppet crime drama “The Happytime Murders,” from the Jim Henson Co., with Kather-ine Heigl in final negotiations. Bucking the trend in femme power, Foresight and the Exchange will commence sales on crime ac-tioner “2 Guns,” reuniting Mark Wahlberg and “Contraband” hel-mer Baltasar Komarkur. Also, Si-erra/Affinity will unveil “Wer,” a werewolf thriller from “The Devil Inside” producers, and Jason Sta-tham thriller “Heat.” Summit Intl. See OPENER page 30 Relativity banks on relationships By JEFF SNEIDER Relativity Media will have a strong presence at the Berlin mar-ket, which could see an effect from the ongoing consolidation of sup-pliers changing the distributor land-scape. Relativity brings three pics including Antoine Fuqua’s “Hunter Killer,” to star Gerard Butler; Lasse Hallstrom’s “Safe Haven,” based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks; and Philip Noyce’s “Timeless,” toplined by Liam Hemsworth (“The Hunger Games”). “We’ve been building our pipeline the last few months and felt that Ber-lin was a great place and the right time to launch three new titles in the marketplace,” said An-drew Marcus, prexy of corporate development and strategy, who noted that Rela-tivity has “become a virtual world-wide distribution company” in the past several years. Neal Moritz and Toby Jaffe are producing the espionage thriller “Hunter Killer” with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, while Relativity co-prexy Tucker Tooley will exec produce with co-writer Arne Schmidt. The “Twi-light” team of Wyck Godfrey See RELATIVITY page 30 “Child’s Play” is the first pic in Canana’s new genre franchise. Terra Mater’s nature doc “Brazil — A Carnival of Life” is skedded to unspool in 2015.

'Play' Time For Canana

John Hopewell

Marking its entry into Englishlanguage production, Mexican production- distrib Canana is launching a genre franchise directed by Russia’s enigmatic Makinov.<br /> <br /> The first film in the franchise, “Child’s Play,” is in post-production. “Play” stars Vinissa Shaw (“Two Lovers”) and Ebon Moss (“Damages”) as a husband and his pregnant wife who travel to Mexico for some quiet, only to be attacked by maniacal children.<br /> <br /> Canana is developing an actioner and a thriller with Makinov, said Canana producer Pablo Cruz.<br /> <br /> The mysterious Makinov is described by Canana as a Russian- American who has lived in Mexico. On set, he wears a mask and a heavy worker jacket called a Makinov.<br /> <br /> “Through anonymity I can do anything, tackle any genre and not be afraid to fail,” Makinov is quoted as saying.<br /> <br /> Televisa has all Mexican rights and will release “Play” in Mexico via distrib arm Videocine.<br /> <br /> Having repped Gerardo Naranjo’s Canana-produced “Miss Bala,” Fox Intl. Prods. Will handle worldwide sales outside Mexico on “Child’s Play,” introducing it to buyers at the European Film Market.<br /> <br /> Canana is run by actor-helmers Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna and producer Pablo Cruz.

The Women's Boom

John Hopewell And Diana Lodderhose

Berlin sellers bet on femme-skewing pix<br /> <br /> Chick pics, classy crossovers and Gallic comedies look set to drive much of Berlin’s biz in 2012.<br /> <br /> Summit Intl. Arrives with “Beautiful Creatures,” a teen fantasy tale of star-crossed love between a boy and girl white witch, drawing on Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia’s book series. Alcon finances, Warner Bros. Distribs Stateside, Richard LaGravenese (“P.S. I Love You”) writes and directs.<br /> <br /> The international industry appears to have taken good note of “Twilight’s” largely femme auds, bringing a brace of similar projects into the market. Often with high profile or genre elements, they’re as much femme as fanboy fare.<br /> <br /> Kate Hudson toplines Joe Lynch actioner “Everly,” from Crime Scene Pics (“Gambit”), sold by Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity, with Hudson fending off waves of assassins dispatched by her mob-boss ex.<br /> <br /> Exclusive Media will talk up “Can a Song Save Your Life?” with aspiring singer Scarlett Johansson finding love and a career with Mark Ruffalo.<br /> <br /> FilmNation introduces Steven Soderbergh’s “Bitter Pill,” with Rooney Mara as a prescription painkiller addict awaiting her husband’s jail release.<br /> <br /> Stuart Ford’s I'm Global kicks off human/puppet crime drama “The Happytime Murders,” from the Jim Henson Co., with Katherine Heigl in final negotiations.<br /> <br /> Bucking the trend in femme power, Foresight and the Exchange will commence sales on crime actioner “2 Guns,” reuniting Mark Wahlberg and “Contraband” helmer Baltasar Komarkur. Also, Sierra/ Affinity will unveil “Wer,” a werewolf thriller from “The Devil Inside” producers, and Jason Statham thriller “Heat.” Summit Intl. will debut actioner “The Tomb,” starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.<br /> <br /> Buyers will also be scouring for crossovers.<br /> <br /> “‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘Black Swan’ are not classic arthouse films but ones by able filmmakers who have moved their topics into a more mainstream environment. That’s what we’re all looking for,” said Martin Moszkowicz, at Constantin.<br /> <br /> At least two Berlin debutantes could fit this mainstream/auteur bill.<br /> <br /> Period drama “Serena” stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in a film helmed by Oscar- winner Susanne Bier, and produced by 2929, co-financed and sold by StudioCanal.<br /> <br /> Wild Bunch and producer Alain Attal are battling to lock in key cast in time for Berlin on Guillaume Canet’s English-language directorial debut “Blood Ties,” a New York-set sibling drama-thriller penned by Canet and James Gray.<br /> <br /> As “Intouchables” romps past €24.8 million ($28 million) at the German box office, the highest gross ever for a French film in Germany, distributors will spare more than a thought for potential Gallic comedy breakouts.<br /> <br /> It’s no coincidence that Wild Bunch has dedicated one whole side of its Martin Gropius-adjacent prefab office to a billboard for Romain Duris-starrer “Populaire,” a “Mad Men”-era romantic comedy.<br /> <br /> Other potential Gallic laffer breakouts: Pathe’s “What’s in a Name?” and EuropaCorp’s “Love Lasts Three Years,” both buzzedabout movies at January’s Unifrance Paris Rendez-vous.<br /> <br /> Leveraging “Twilight” vibes into — hopefully — “Twilight” results, “Creatures,” at a reported $50 million, is one of Berlin’s more expensive items.<br /> <br /> “Serena” is in the $25 million-$ 30 million range. Toplining Frank Grillo, “Intersection,” the new thriller from Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, weighs in for even less.<br /> <br /> “The contraction of budgets started a while ago: The entire industry had to get much smarter about budgets,” said Alison Thompson at Focus Features Intl.<br /> <br /> Sales agents and distributors’ mantra coming into Berlin is caution.<br /> <br /> That said, “There are still filmmakers that have that ‘je ne sais quoi’ and are bound to attract a good deal of excitement and attention,” said Thompson.<br /> <br /> “Buyers continue to look for quality scripts that are commercial stories and well-cast features,” said Julie Sultan of W2, which is shopping “The Drummer” and “Attachment.” “They need to have some of those boxes checked for it to be a low-risk title.” <br /> <br /> It will only take a few hot items at the EFM to take some of the cold out of a sub-zero Berlin.

Terra On Journey Of 'Life'

Ed Meza

Terra Mater is continuing its run of documentary event films with “Brazil — A Carnival of Life,” which promises to take auds on a journey from the Amazon jungle to the country’s vast stretches of coastline and barren deserts to some of the longest waterfalls in the world.<br /> <br /> It’s one of two films Terra Mater will unveil at the European Film Market.<br /> <br /> Sophokles Tasioulis, head of cinema and international theatrical sales at the Viennabased company, describes the project as a “super blue-chip event natural history documentary” in the vein of BBC Worldwide’s “Earth” and “Deep Blue” (on which Tasioulis served as producer).<br /> <br /> Established last year as a division of Red Bull Media House, Terra Mater specializes in doc production and distribution for TV, theatrical and multimedia platforms.<br /> <br /> Currently in production, “Brazil” is scheduled to be delivered in 2015 as a 90-minute film and a six-part TV series.<br /> <br /> Also making its market debut is Otmar Penker and Gerald Salmina’s “Cry of the Eagle,” about an Alpine shepherd who finds redemption when he rescues a baby eagle.<br /> <br /> Like Terra Mater’s hit Spanish film “Among Wolves,” by Gerardo Olivares, which became the new company’s first title last year, “Cry of the Eagle” combines wildlife footage with a fictional narrative.<br /> <br /> “Wolves,” a fact-based tale about a boy raised by wolves in the Sierra Morena Mountains of southern Spain, was a solid box office hit domestically and recently sold to Polyband in Germany, where it is due to hit screens in June.<br /> <br /> It has also sold to Jupiter Films in France, Suntower Communications for Scandinavia and Feelgood in Greece.<br /> <br /> Pointing to the inherent difficulties most European films face outside their countries of origin, such as language barriers and the lack of well-known stars, Tasioulis says nature docs have a major advantage: “A wolf is a wolf in Japan as well as in China or in America. It doesn’t speak a language, it doesn’t carry a passport — that makes these sorts of films easier. If you can find the right recipe, combine it with a dramatic story, then it works.” <br /> <br /> Another Terra Mater pic on its slate is the $15 million-plus “Lighthouse of the Orcas,” in which wild killer whales help an autistic child come out of his shell in South America. Olivares helms.<br /> <br /> As with “Wolves,” crews will spend up to a year in the wild shooting footage of eagles in the Alps for “Cry of the Eagle” and orcas in Patagonia for “Lighthouse of the Orcas.” <br /> <br /> Also in the works is “Mind Over Matter,” a portrait of the athletes taking part in the 2012 London Paralympic Games, including a match-up between star sprinters Oscar Pistorius and Jerome Singleton — the fastest blade runners on the planet.<br /> <br /> Terra Mater boasts the former production team of Universum, the acclaimed nature-wildlife film unit of Austrian pubcaster ORF, including CEO Walter Koehler.

Relativity Banks On Relationships

Jeff Sneider

Relativity Media will have a strong presence at the Berlin market, which could see an effect from the ongoing consolidation of suppliers changing the distributor landscape. Relativity brings three pics including Antoine Fuqua’s “Hunter Killer,” to star Gerard Butler; Lasse Hallstrom’s “Safe Haven,” based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks; and Philip Noyce’s “Timeless,” toplined by Liam Hemsworth (“The Hunger Games”).<br /> <br /> “We’ve been building our pipeline the last few months and felt that Berlin was a great place and the right time to launch three new titles in the marketplace,” said Andrew Marcus, prexy of corporate development and strategy, who noted that Relativity has “become a virtual worldwide distribution company” in the past several years.<br /> <br /> Neal Moritz and Toby Jaffe are producing the espionage thriller “Hunter Killer” with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, while Relativity co-prexy Tucker Tooley will exec produce with co-writer Arne Schmidt. The “Twilight” team of Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen will produce the Dana Stevens-scripted “Safe Haven” with Kavanaugh and Sparks, while Tooley will exec produce the pic, which hits theaters Valentine’s Day 2013. Bill Kelly wrote “Timeless,” which Kavanaugh is producing with Sunil Perkash.<br /> <br /> Relativity continues to expand its global reach. Company has an exclusive multi-year deal with FilmNation Entertainment to oversee the international sales and distribution of its pics. FilmNation will be Relativity’s sales agent on the ground in Berlin.<br /> <br /> “Relativity’s international platform is very strong and the industry is at a very interesting time of consolidation. Lionsgate buying Summit provides opportunities for companies like Relativity. Likewise, when Warner Bros. Absorbed New Line, that left an opening for other companies, and Relativity stepped into the fold and closed many of its output deals in the wake of that transaction,” said Marcus.<br /> <br /> Relativity has shored up its foreign output deals, having just closed a new pact with South African distrib Nu Metro Distribution that will run through November 2014. Pics in the pact include Steven Soderbergh’s action-thriller “Haywire,” Tarsem Singh’s adventure comedy “Mirror Mirror,” the Navy SEAL actioner “Act of Valor” and the comedy “21 and Over.” <br /> <br /> Relativity’s renewed output deals include:<br /> <br /> Imagem Filmes, which handles the distribution of Relativityfs films in Latin America, has extended through December 2014.<br /> <br /> Roadshow Films, which distributes in Australia and New Zealand, has extended through March 2014. <br /> <br /> Taiwan's Studio Solutions Group. Has extended the deal through April 2016.<br /> <br /> Canada's Alliance Films and U. K.-based Momentum Pictures have extended through August 2015.<br /> <br /> Village Roadshow Film Distributors Greece and Singapore distrib Golden Village Pictures, each extending their pacts through March 2014.<br /> <br /> Among the advantages to having a strong collection of output deals is the guarantee of distribution, according to Marcus. “It’s nice to not have to go to market and sell every individual territory for each film. Quite frankly, having surety of sales and distribution allows us to spend time building long-term partnerships and efficiencies. We’re able to go to the Berlin market and talk about marketing campaigns and distribution strategies with our partners rather than sales prices and deal points.” <br /> <br /> Relativity’s network of foreign output partners already includes TriPictures (Spain), MGN/Paradise Films (CIS and eastern Europe), Nordisk Film (Scandinavia and Iceland), A-Film Distribution (Benelux), Gulf Film (the Middle East), Aqua Group Inc/Pinema (Turkey), Entertainment in Motion (Global Airlines), Sky Land (joint venture with IDG and Saif Partners in China) and Senator Entertainment (Germany).<br /> <br /> “When you have a film that overperforms, it should lead to overages, which should have the same effect as a bidding war over a particular title at market,” said Marcus. “The benefit of output deals is also mitigating downside risk. The difference in going to market versus having an output deal is difficult to predict, but we make up for the differential by having marketing and distribution efficiencies, and having great integrations with international distributors is invaluable.” <br /> <br /> Relativity also inked a deal with Netflix to license all pay TV rights for Latin America through 2018, which will include films produced and released by Relativity, starting with “Act of Valor” in February.<br /> <br /> “We generally do all-rights deals, but the Netflix arrangement splits our Latin America deal into two components — pay TV and all other rights — providing additional benefits,” explained Marcus.<br /> <br /> Relativity’s 3D epic “Immortals” has grossed $225.4 million worldwide, and “Haywire” will screen out of competition at the fest, with Soderbergh and stars Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender and Antonio Banderas in attendance.

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