TF1 International has boarded The One And Only, a romantic comedy produced by the UK's Assassin Films and to be directed by Simon Cellar Jones.
The world-wide acquisition and sales arm of TF1 Group, which is co-producing the title along with Pathe UK, will be handling worldwide sales with the exception of English-speaking territories which will be handled by Pathe, and Scandinavia which will be handled by Sandrew Metronome.
The One and Only -- an adaptation from Danish award-winning box office hit Den Eneste Ene, written by Peter Flannery and set in Newcastle - will start shooting in the summer of 2001. Assassin Films produced East is East, while Simon Cellar Jones' credits include Some Voices.
TF1 International's two other hot pre-sales include Danish film-maker Ole Bornedal's $14m period drama I Am Dina, starring Pernilla August, Gerard Depardieu, Maria Bonnevie, which is currently shooting, and another recent pick-up, Dai Sijie's The Little Chinese Seamstress, based upon the Chinees film-maker's own best-selling novel Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, which is to start shooting shortly.
Joni Sigvatsson's Palomar Pictures, which is co-producing mega-budget K:19 - The Widowmaker for Intermedia, is teaming up with hot Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur (101 Reykjavik) to produce Kormakur's English-language debut A Little Piece Of Heaven.
Palomar has also bought film rights to US bestseller The Red Tent by Anita Diamant which is being developed as a directing vehicle for Ramaa Mosley, and is rescussitating romantic comedy Why Can't I Be Audrey Hepburn' Which Ryan Murphy has scripted and will direct.
Inspired by Tom Waits' song of the same name and 16th century play Tis A Pity She's A Whore, A Little Piece Of Heaven is currently being rewritten by Kormakur and Andrew Chapman. An edgy thriller, it tells the story of a man and a woman on the run from the police for setting up insurance frauds who are not what they seem. Icelandic company Zikzak is co-producing the film with Palomar.
Palomar was bought out by Sigvatsson, former head of Propaganda Films and Lakeshore Entertainment, two years ago and he runs it with partner Jonathon Ker. Why Can't I Be Audrey Hepburn' Is set to shoot later this year and Sigvatsson is currently negotiating for the female lead with a major actress.
The Red Tent is the retelling of the Old Testament story of Jacob from a female point of view.
France's M6 has become the first distributor to sign up for rights to Hong Kong superstar Michelle Yeoh's new picture The Touch. The film will be released by M6 sister company SND, which is scheduled to handle Gangs of New York.
Thierry Desmichelle, director general of M6 Interactions ,said he had acquired all French rights including home entertainment.
By the end of the market, Media Asia, the production powerhouse which has developed and is financing the film, expects to close deals for the rest of Europe. While it is in discussions with four US parties, Media Asia says that a North American deal on the circus adventure picture may be harder to close until the SAG strike threat is resolved.
The $20m film has been a long time in development and is now set to roll in July under the direction of Peter Pau, who recently won the Oscar for best cinematography for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Yeoh is producing through her company Mythical Pictures and will star. Taiwanese company Pandasia takes a co-production credit after putting up some 40% of the budget. The company is also an equity investor in Media Asia's Princess D and will supply special effects through its technical facilities offshoot Digimax.
'The Touch is both a statement and a new standard bearer for what people from Hong Kong can do,' said Thomas Chung, Media Asia Group managing director.
Media Asia has been building its own theatrical distribution network in Asia. In partnership with local partners such as Entertainment Golden Village it now has releasing capabilities in Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
Mohsen Makhmalbaf's official competition title Kandahar sold to a string of distributors even before its first screening on Thursday.
Bim has taken the film for Italy, Golem for Spain and United King for Israel.
StudioCanal's specialty division Wild Bunch, which is handling worldwide sales on the title, has also been fielding several offers for the Benelux, Canada and Scandivania. Two US distributors have expressed interest.
Makhmalbaf's latest film deals the ordeal of the Afghan women under the rule of the Taliban.
Buena Vista International (BVI) has bought a large part of the world on Europa Corp's Kiss Of The Dragon, the Jet Li-actioner to which 20th Century Fox has domestic rights. The $25m picture co-starring Bridget Fonda and Tchecky Karyo which Besson wrote with his Fifth Element collaborator Robert Mark Kamen.
BVI has taken the film in Scandinavia, Benelux, Latin America (excluding Mexico), Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand. It marks the continuation of an aggressive international acquisitions spree for BVI under senior vice president, international distribution, Anthony Marcoly and director of acquisitions Alicia Keyes.
France's Chris Nahon directed Kiss Of The Dragon which is the story of a Chinese intelligence officer who goes to Paris and becomes embroiled in a deadly conspiracy.
Warner Bros has acquired Japanese, Spanish and South American rights to Nanni Moretti's Cannes competition title La Stanza Del Figlio, sold worldwide by StudioCanal's speciality division Wild Bunch.
Wild Bunch had previously sold Korean rights for La Stanza to Jaynet. Wild Bunch, headed by Vincent Maraval, has no less than 10 titles in official selection this year, including four in the main competition, including, along with La Stanza, Jean-Luc Goddard's L'Eloge de l'amour, Hirokazu Kore-Eda's Distance and Iranian film-maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf's Kandahar.
The $16m ice-age tale The Mammoth Hunters is to be the first film produced by TR Pictures (TRP) the production company created in May 2001 by former Clt Ufa International top executive Heinz Thym and US writer-director Stewart Raffill.
The two principals of the UK-based company, which has offices in London, Los Angeles and Luxembourg, plan to turn out three to four family-oriented feature films per year, carrying budgets in the $5m-30m range, most of them shot in Canada and in Europe.
Thym was head of co-productions and acquisitions for the RTL Plus (aka Clt Ufa) group's foreign sales and distribution arm. UK-born, Los Angeles-based Raffill directed some 14 features in Hollywood, including The Adventures Of The Wilderness Family for MGM/UA.
The Mammoth Hunters (working title) - which is currently being cast and will make an heavy use of computer generated images - is mostly aimed at children from six to seventeen years old and is to start shooting as of August in France, Canada and Lapland.
TRP has several other projects already in development, all written and to be directed by Raffill, including Europe-set political thriller Bombers, a humorous Christmas tale, as well as The Smooth Operator a women-oriented flick set between the UK, Holland and Paris. TRP will develop, produce and handle foreign sales on its titles.