Even though critics have been mostly uninspired by the Berlinale festival selection this year, EFM attendees reported robust business with one eye on the prospect of more promising things to come in Cannes.
Wild Bunch world sales chief Vincent Maraval noted the lack of excitement over the competition line-up. “[The Berlinale] is like a local festival and an international market,” Maraval said, adding that the EFM was “very strong.”
The EFM’s slot in the calendar has always created challenges for US-based sales companies on the lookout for new material so soon after the AFM, holiday season and Sundance, so the few truly commercial locomotives prospered.
FilmNation had arguably the biggest title of the market from across the Atlantic and sold out its Gambit remake starring Oscar frontrunner Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz.
Summit International drew heavy interest on Red 2 and Emma Watson starrer The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and buyers flocked to IM Global’s Sylvester Stallone heavyweight Headshot and Madonna’s W.E. and Exclusive Films International’s Miley Cyrus vehicle So Undercover.
The other top draws were Parlay Films’ Bradley Cooper drama The Words, Essential Entertainment’s John Woo remake The Killer and Lakeshore and Sierra / Affinity’s Amanda Seyfried thriller Gone.
The international favourites included StudioCanal’s African Safari 3D, Wild Bunch’s 360 from Fernando Meirelles, Pathe International’s Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, Metropolis’ Sundance hit The Guard [pictured], Fortissimo’s Bob Marley and Jiro Dreams Of Sushi documentaries, Tianjin Film Studio’s 3D animation Legend Of A Rabbit and CJ Entertainment’s sea creature thriller Sector 7.
Berlin is not the place where US buyers typically get their wallets out but there was trade. The Weinsteins acquired Ralph Fiennes’ competition entry Coriolanus and Magnolia struck a three-film deal with TrustNordisk for Lars von Trier’s Melancholia and the Norwegian pair of Headhunters and Sundance award winner Happy, Happy.
FilmDistrict and Miramax announced they were partnering on the US release of EFM screener Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark and a deal was expected on Asghar Farhadi’s widely admired Golden Bear contender Nader And Simin, A Separation.