Also, Swiss distributor Ascot Elite adds five titles.

Swiss-born filmmaker Tim Fehlbaum’s feature debut Hell, which had its international premiere at Locarno’s Piazza Grande on Thursday evening, has been presold by Beta Cinema to China’s Champs Lis and also picked up by Russian distributor Carmen Film for the CIS territories, with negotiations underway for various other European territories.

The post-apocalyptic thriller, starring Hannah Herzsprung (The Reader), Lars Eidinger (Everyone Else), Stipe Erceg (Unknown Identity) and Angela Winkler (The Tin Drum), was Paramount Pictures Germany’s first local pickup last year and will be released in German cinemas on September 20.

Meanwhile, Locarno’s Industry Office announced that world sales companies were secured for a raft of films on the eve of this year’s festival.

France’s Urban Distribution International (formerly Umedia) acquired the world rights for Japanese director Hitoshi Matsumoto’s new film Saya Zamurai (Scabbard Samurai) which will have its international première on the Piazza Grande on August 12. Matsumoto’s previous two films Symbol and Big Man Japan are also being represented by Urban Distribution International.

Meanwhile, Paola Corvino’s Intramovies will handle international distribution for the brothers Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio’s fiction feature debut Seven Acts of Mercy(Sette opere di misericordia), produced by Alessandro Borelli’s La Sarraz Pictures with Romania’s Dan Burlac of Elefant Film, which will have its world premiere in the International Competition.

In addition, sales agents were found for the Swiss film The Substance - Albert Hofmann’s LSD by Martin Witz, screening in the Filmmakers of the Present Competition, which was picked up by Vienna-based Autlook Filmsales.

At the same time, leading Swiss distributor Ascot Elite Entertainment, who has three films screening on the Piazza Grande this year - last night’s (Thursday) world premiere of Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters, the Swiss premiere of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive on Aug 6, and the world premiere of Emmanuel Mouret’s L’Art D’Aimer on Aug 7 - has recently added a raft of new titles to its lineup for German-speaking territories.

The additions for the 2012 season are:

  • Mateo Gil’s new film Blackthorn, a Western set in Bolivia and following outlaw Butch Cassidy’s (Sam Shepard) life after his alleged killing by Bolivian armed forces, from 6 Sales.
  • supernatural submarine thriller Phantom, starring Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, and Natasha McElhone, from K5.
  • David Wnendt’s graduate film Combat Girls (Kriegerin), to be released theatrically in early 2012, from Sasha Wieser’s EastWest Filmdistribution
  • Richard de Aragues’s 3D documentary TT3D about the Isle Of Man Tourist Trophy bike races, from HanWay.
  • the Will Ferrell comedy Everything Must Go, a hit at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, from IM Global.
  • Peter Brown’s documentary Confessions of an Eco Terrorist, from The Little Film Company.

“We think that 2012 will be a big new step in the already successful history of Ascot Elite’s return to the German market”, Ascot Elite’s COO Stephan Giger said. “The quality of our line-up makes us very excited about 2012.”
Ascot Elite’s upcoming theatrical releases also include The Guard, with Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson, and Werner Herzog’s 3D Documentary The Cave of Forgotten Dreams.