As North American buyers flooded into Toronto yesterday, the firstweekend of Toronto offered some enticing prospects, namely modern-day fairytale Penelope whichscreens on Friday night and teen horror picture All The Boys Love Mandy Lane and Tarsem Singh's The Fall tomorrow night.
Indeed after a Venice Film Festival which has so far notyielded a single domestic deal - and a hostile reception to David Lynch'sunsold 170-minute Inland Empire - buyersare hungry for pictures.
The festival is doing its best to stoke the flames of anypotential frenzy like last year's famous bidding war over Thank You ForSmoking which ultimatelywent for $7m. A month ago, TIFF released a curious announcement highlightingthe titles "primed to magnetize theattention of distributors, exhibitors, and industry insiders." Among the tippedtitles were The Fall, WernerHerzog's Rescue Dawn anddocumentary Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show.
THINKFilm'shead of theatrical Mark Urman warned against the hype. "Iguarantee you that the ones that people are most excited about will either bebitter disappointments or out of most people's price range, while several filmsunder the radar will be hits," he said.
"Cannes wasn't at all fruitful for us and Torontowill fill the void," said Urman. "The line-up is very eclectic with a denselist of available films that have all the right ingredients in that they're inEnglish and have recognisable talent."
Urman also pointed to Christopher N Rowley's Bonneville, RescueDawn and Vince Vaughn'sWild West Comedy Show.
"There aren't that many secrets in the acquisitions world -I'm sure everyone will see Mandy Lane, for example, but there'll also be films off our radar andtrue discoveries for us," Tony Safford, senior vice president ofacquisitions at 20th Century Fox, said.
Indeed there are numerous foreign-language films available likePaul Verhoeven's Black Book, Agustin Diaz Yanes' Alatriste and Margarethe Von Trotta's I Am TheOther Woman.
IFC Films, for example, was scouting smaller titles for itsmulti-platform First Take label.
"The interesting thing that has happened over the last fewfestivals is that people have been focusing on movies that make $10m-$20m,which leaves a lot of smaller films like Black Book and Rescue Dawn," IFC's Ryan Werner said."We're definitely looking hard and we need to buy some films."
Another buyer said the line-up was not as strong as last year andhe didn't expect prices like the ones paid for Smoking or Trust The Man. He pointed out the commercial viabilityof horror pictures, adding that Mandy Lane and Black Sheep from New Zealand would be buyer magnets.
Later in theweek, other high profile acquisitions prospects include Bonneville with Jessica Lange, Joan Allen and KathyBates on Monday night El Cantante starring Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony on Tuesday.